Mohave County WIC

Healthy Weight for Children

Maintaining a Well Balanced Diet from Childhood to Adulthood

By the end of this lesson you will: 
Understand 2 health consequences of obesity
Know at least 3 causes of obesity
Describe 3 healthy eating tips
List 2 benefits of physical activity


Please do not use ENTER to move through the fields, use the TAB key.

Welcome to the Mohave County WIC website.  If you are a WIC participant, please enter your name and date of birth.  Type only one name if more than one family member is a participant along with their birth date.

First name

Last name

Birthday of name entered above


This lesson is intended to make parents aware of the risks of obesity.    Obesity is a major health concern due to the dramatic increases in the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescence.  This occurrence is causing an increase in other diseases that can be prevented in children.  Please note that fat intake should not be limited in children under 2 years. 


Activity 1:
1.) Do you think your child might be overweight?   

Ask the WIC staff if you're interested in your child's weight status.

2.) What are you currently doing now to promote healthy eating in your family? 


Why is it necessary for you to be at a healthy weight?  
One important reason is to prevent against diseases. 
Increases Chance of Heart Disease:
One mile of blood vessels are added for every pound gained.  What happens whenever you add more blood vessels or think about what happens when you extend a garden hose.  Do you have to turn the water up to get the same flow you did with the shorter hose?  Think of your heart as that faucet.  It has to turn up the pressure and work harder to get the blood to go farther.  The increased work load could eventually lead to:
Cardio Myopathy: enlarged heart
Congestive Heart Failure: term used to describe any condition in which the heart is unable to adequately pump blood throughout the body and/or unable to prevent blood from "backing up" into the lungs. These conditions cause symptoms such as shortness of breath (dyspnea), fatigue, weakness, and swelling (edema) of the legs and sometimes the abdomen.
Heart Attack: (also called a myocardial infarction) is the death of part of the heart muscle due to its sudden loss of blood supply.
Hypertension: high blood pressure...Blood pressure results from two forces. One is created by the heart as it pumps blood into the arteries and through the circulatory system. The other is the force of the arteries as they resist the blood flow.
Hyperlipidemia: high cholesterol/high triglycerides (fat)... High cholesterol is a serious health risk because it can lead to coronary heart disease.
Do you pick your children up often?  Do you carry them around for very long?  Why do you usually set your children down?  Does your back start to ache?  Do your knees and ankles become stiff.  Increased weight can cause the same problems except we can't set it down when we get tired, stiff or sore.  The bones and joints therefore have to take the extra stress leading to:
Arthritis: a medical condition affecting a joint or joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness
Joint Problems
Why does increased fat both in our diet and on our bodies lead to increased cancer risks?  Toxins or carcinogen (cancer causing agents) are stored in fat.  That means that we each carry a certain amount of these toxins all the time.  When we eat a lot of fat or even have excess body fat, we increase the chances of cancer.  Obesity also increases hormone levels that could influence the development of cancer.  Adipose tissue is a major site of estrogen synthesis; estrogen has been implicated in the development of cancers in the female reproductive system.  These cancers account for half of all cancers in women.
Diabetes is three times more likely to develop in an overweight person.  Most of the weight may be what is called central, that is around the abdomen area.  Central body fat cells are larger and more insulin resistant.  Central body fat and insulin resistant cells increase the risk of developing NIDDM (non insulin diabetes mellitus or type 2).
There has been a dramatic increase of NIDDM (Type 2 diabetes) in children as young as ten.

Listed below are some other health consequences of obesity:

Stroke: stoppage of the blood flow to the brain
Gallbladder Disease
Sleep apnea: a temporary cessation of breathing that happens to some people while they are sleeping
Respiratory Problems
Endometrial, Breast, Prostate, and Colon Cancer


Activity 2:

Check the following heath consequences of obesity:
Type II Diabetes
Heart Disease
Lyme Disease


What Causes Obesity? 
There are many causes of obesity.  The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. 
Studies have shown that an increase in the amount of juice children drink can be linked to the increase in childhood obesity.
The fruit juice you receive from WIC can provide your child with good nutrients such as vitamin C, but an excessive amount of juice can cause problems.  If a child drinks more than 12 ounces of fruit juice a day they may be at risk for the following:
Children who drink more than 12 ounces of fruit juice a day are getting too many calories from non nutrient dense foods.  These children are at risk of obesity.  If a child is drinking an excessive amount of juice they are also getting an excessive amount of calories.  This juice may make them feel full and lead them to refuse nutrient dense foods essential for growth and development. 
Tooth Decay
Visit our Tooth Decay Website.  Click here.
If your child is drinking too much fruit juice, more than 12 ounces, he may experience loose stools.
To view information on juice intake click here.


Other Suggested Changes in Eating Patterns
Lower fat and sugar consumption
Look for ways to reduce the fat in your or your child's diet.  Try to cut down on the visits to fast food restaurants by making it a treat and having it no more than once a week.  Cut back on fatty ingredients in a recipe.  Replace high fat with low the labels, look for another brand or variety that doesn't have fat listed as one of the first three ingredients.  If the recipe says optional try to add extra flavor with spices or herbs.
Substitute whole milk with skim milk or low-fat milk. **Children under 2 should drink 2-3 8oz. glasses of whole milk/day.
Increase the number of serving of vegetables and fruits to at least 5 a day.  Click here is visit our "5 a Day" Website.
Decrease portion sizes.  Give second serving to the child only if they're asked for.  Never force a child to finish what is one the plate.
Drink more water instead of sugar drinks and sodas.
Eat cereals low in sugar such as Cheerios, Corn Flakes and Kix

Activity 3:

1. Name the three most common causes of obesity:


2. Your child should not drink more than how many ounces of 100% Fruit Juice a day?
24 ounces
12 ounces
36 ounces


3. Name two changes you will make to lower your fat or sugar consumption :
1.  2. 


4. Click the box with the healthier snack choice :

plain popcorn


chocolate mousse pie


low fat blueberry muffins



Tips for Reducing Fat and Cholesterol in your Diet:
Choose lean cut meat, fish, and poultry.  Trim off all visible fat.  Animal fat is saturated fat and should be limited.
Avoid deep-fried foods or limit them
Cook by baking, broiling, poaching, steaming, or microwaving
Switch to skim or 1% milk.  (If 2 years or older)
Try salad dressings that are labeled nonfat or reduced calories
Use low fat or nonfat mayonnaise
Read labels and avoid products that contain coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter.  These are saturated fats.


Why is Physical Activity Important to Energy Balance?
Physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week is beneficial for people of all ages.  All you need is 30 minutes a day at least five days a week!  This can include playing chase in the yard with your family or dancing to music before dinner.  
Regular activity decreases appetite, gives a general sense of well being, decreases blood pressure, improves glucose metabolism and insulin reaction, improves cholesterol and is overall heart healthy!
Physical activity can help relieve stress, improve your sleep, clear your head, give you more energy, and boost self-confidence by improving your strength, stamina, and sense of control.

Activity 4:

1. Name at least 2 physical activities you can enjoy with your family:


2. Name 2 benefits of regular activity:  



Tips for Fostering a Positive Body Image
Child or Adolescent Parents
Look in the mirror and focus on your positive features, not the negative ones. Demonstrate healthy eating behaviors, and avoid extreme eating behaviors.
Say something nice to your friends about how they look. Focus on non-appearance-related traits when discussing yourself and others.
Think about your positive traits that are not related to appearance. Praise your child or adolescent for academic and other successes.
Read magazines with a critical eye, and find out what photographers and computer graphic designers do to make models look the way they do. Analyze media messages with your child or adolescent.


If you are overweight and want to lose weight, be realistic in your expectations and aim for gradual change. Demonstrate that you love your child or adolescent regardless of what he or she weighs.
Realize that everyone has a unique size and shape.
If your child or adolescent is overweight, don't criticize her appearance - offer support instead.
If you have questions about your size or weight, ask a health professional.
Share with a health professional any concerns you have about your child's eating behaviors and body images

This table was developed by Bright Futures in Practice: Nutrition, National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health.


Which WIC Office do you go to?

Bullhead City
Lake Havasu City

Where are you taking today's lesson?



You have completed the lesson on "Balancing Energy".  If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail one of our nutritionists.  We’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.

In Kingman you may contact a Nutritionist at
In Bullhead City you may contact a Nutritionist at
In Lake Havasu City you may contact a Nutritionist at


Activity 2: Heart Disease, Type II Diabetes (NIDDM), and Cancer are consequences of obesity.
Activity 3: 1. The most common causes of obesity are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, &/or unhealthy eating patterns
2. 12 oz. of fruit juice is all a child should consume in one day.
3. Decrease servings of fruit juice to 12 oz./day, change to 2% milk in children older than 2 years of age, increase fruits and vegetables, drink more water, decrease cereals high in sugar & gradually switch to low sugar cereals such as Cheerios, Corn flakes, and Kix.
4. Popcorn is healthier, unless you add butter and salt.
     Kiwi is healthier, remember eat '5 a day'
     Blueberry muffins is usually healthier, practice reading the food labels.  Look for fat and sugar.
Activity 4: 1. Playing chase in back yard, swimming, taking walks or hikes, etc.
2. Reduces stress, sleep better, boost self confidence

* If you have an extra minute, please fill out our survey on the WIC home page (where you chose this class) so we can better serve you.  Thanks. 

Back to WIC Lessons

Revised: August 25, 2004
Webmaster: Marianne Johnson