What is the issue?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in three children is considered obese or overweight. And, the percentage of children who are overweight has more than doubled in the past 30 years.

For children, those extra pounds can add up to health problems, often for life. Type 2 diabetes was once rare in American children – now it accounts for up to 46 percent of newly diagnosed diabetes cases in children and adolescents.

In addition to physical health, overweight and obesity also have a significant impact on children's social and emotional health as overweight children are also more likely to become overweight or obese as adults.

If not addressed, we are at risk of raising the first generation of children who will not outlive their parents.

To approach this epidemic, the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital focuses on energy balance – the relationship between how many calories we consume through foods and beverages (energy in), and how many calories we burn through physical activity and daily living (energy out).

How well children (and adults) manage the balance between eating and physical activity strongly influences overall health and one's chances of developing obesity.

Why is Energy Balance Important?

Ensuring the proper energy balance is a critical part of preventing and reducing childhood obesity and the accompanying high economic and social costs.

Through nrgBalance, we help children and their families learn to balance the energy they consume through foods and drinks with the energy they're burning each day.

“The stellar interaction between the Center and administrators at six PA public schools led to a very successful week-long health ride. I enjoyed working with the Center and would highly recommend them as partners in any future projects.”

Roy E. Baldwin
Executive Director
Healthy Lifestyles Foundation