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Help U.S. Kids Get Healthy

Close to 1 in 3 American children is overweight or obese. And only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day. The childhood obesity epidemic has far-reaching consequences for all Americans, but none more so than the 1 in 5 children living in poverty who lack the resources to make healthy choices in the first place. If we are going to give these children a fair chance to thrive and be healthy, then we have to give children and families healthier choices through policy and practice.

Food for Thought:

  • Close to 1 in 3 American children is overweight or obese.1
  • In rural communities, 52% of children living in poverty are overweight or obese.2
  • Only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day. Children now spend more than 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, videogames, computer).3/4
  • More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in food deserts – areas that are more than a mile away from a supermarket.5

Making Healthier Choices

Save the Children believes every child deserves a healthy start in life. Our Healthy Choices program exposes children to healthier ways of living through physical activity, nutrition lessons and balanced food choices so they can be healthy and active in both learning and life. Eating well and being physically active at an early age helps children focus, improve attendance, boost academic performance and grow up to be healthy adults.

Ten Power-Packed (and Kid-Friendly) Snack Tips

Success Story - Kentucky Healthy Choices Pep Rally

Hunger in America

Children and school leaders in rural southeastern Kentucky were treated to a pep rally to celebrate the success of its Healthy Choices program. With support of the PepsiCo Foundation, the program promoted healthy, active lifestyles and good nutrition choices for more than 5,000 school children across the region over the last three years. Save the Children and the PepsiCo Foundation are now replicating the successes of the Kentucky program across rural America. Research shows an estimated 52 percent of rural children living in poverty are overweight or obese. Poor health and nutrition can negatively impact a child’s academic performance and overall growth and development. Through its Healthy Choices program, Save the Children helps schools become agents of change for improving children’s health and helping children achieve their full potential.


1. 2012: Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States.

2. 2015: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.

3. 1999: National Association for Sport and Physical Education. The Fitness Equation: Physical Activity + Balanced Diet = Fit Kids.

4. 2010: Kaiser Family Foundation.

5. 2015: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Creating Access to Healthy, Affordable Food.

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