Childhood obesity is a global health issue. In fact, childhood obesity is so prevalent that the World Health Organization identifies it as one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. As daunting a task as tackling childhood obesity may seem, it’s a problem that can be solved.
The WHO notes that, in 2016, an estimated 41 million children across the globe were overweight. That’s a troubling statistic, as overweight and obese children are likely to remain so into adulthood, increasing their risk for various diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 
Parents of children who are overweight or obese may find it difficult to get youngsters to change their lifestyles and adopt healthy behaviors that can help them lose weight and keep the weight off. Like adults, many children are creatures of habit, particularly when it comes to diet. And getting kids to change those habits is not always so easy. However, a few simple strategies might be all it takes to help kids lose weight and get on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
• Limit sugar intake. The WHO recommends reducing kids’ sugar intake. Sodas and juices, even fruit juices, are often loaded with sugar. Many children drink these beverages every day, with some even consuming multiple servings per day. Water is a healthy alternative to soda and juice, and parents can slowly transition their youngsters away from sugary beverages by diluting the beverages with water and only allowing kids to have them on special occasions.
• Switch things up at snack time. Many children eat daily snacks, and that’s perfectly normal. Youngsters are growing and, as a result, tend to get hungry between meals. What parents serve at snack time can have positive or negative effects on youngsters’ weights. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents use snack time as a way to increase kids’ intake of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense, and the WHO says increasing fruit and vegetable intake is a great way to fight childhood obesity.
• Focus on more than the dinner table. Getting overweight and obese kids to eat healthy diets is just one aspect of helping them lose weight. Routine physical activity is another essential part of a successful weight loss plan. The WHO recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day. Parents can promote a physically active lifestyle and limit the time kids spend on devices or playing video games by only allowing access to such distractions after kids have been physically active.
Overweight and obese children may need help and some extra encouragement as they try to lose weight.