During the past two decades, childhood obesity has become a widespread epidemic throughout the western world. In October 2017, The World Health Organisation reported that the number of obese children and adolescents, aged 5 to 19 years, worldwide has risen 10 times in the past 4 decades. So the question is, what can this alarming childhood obesity epidemic be attributed to? Is it just about diet and exercise, or does technology play a role, and if so, is technology to blame or is it part of the solution?

Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is measured by Growth Charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the children’s version of BMI calculations that adults have. The reason for an advanced BMI is because children and adolescents need to be categorized by sex and age, this is due to the physical changes that occur during growth and development. To make sure that your child is healthy, you should consult your family doctor.

Whether you are looking to help your child lose weight or you are looking to prevent obesity in your family, the insights about diet, exercise and the influence of technology are all important to consider when implementing changes that benefit your child’s health.


There have been many food groups blamed throughout the years for obesity, from high calories, fats and now we have a war against sugar. Added sugar has been proven to cause weight gain and to also have addictive properties. Information about fats and calories in our foods are difficult to find, but information about added sugars in our food has been written in a completely different language with words like gomme or fructose meaning sugar.

Technology can help improve your diet, with many food education apps, virtual health coaches, healthy cookbook apps, and calorie counters in the app market. In this case, technology empowers parents to make informed decisions about the food that they are providing to their children. Knowing that your child’s afternoon treat has a high amount of sugar can help you make changes to their diet, perhaps you can swap to a less sugary treat, or make that afternoon snack a sometimes food. On the same note, there are apps for creating a healthier version of their favourite recipes.Overall, there are many different forms of technology that educate and facilitate healthy eating.


The American Academy of Paediatrics estimated that the average child spends around seven hours each day doing these three activities; watching TV, browsing the internet, and playing video games. As children increase the amount of screen time, it is no surprise that the amount of time spent being active decreases. Not only does sitting on the couch mean that calories aren’t being burnt thus being more likely to be overweight, but couch potato kids will also have weaker muscles and bones than kids who exercise regularly according to KidsHealth.org.

Technology obviously is a hindrance in this regard, as the screen time is keeping children stationary rather than moving around and burning energy. Though, the future of exercise and play is evolving with technology. Imagine a world where children can print their own toys, they can play in the world’s best playground or bicycle the Tour De France! We have already seen augmented reality encourage exercise with their Pokemon challenge. Additionally, there are other fitness accessories and apps that make burning calories fun. But more than anything sports and being outdoors are some of the most rewarding activities for overall physical and mental health. The key to preventing childhood obesity will be balancing technology that encourages exercise with other non-technological activities like sports and outdoor play.


As parents, our relationship with technology is confusing as it can help the childhood obesity epidemic, but it is also part of the cause. Leading by example, making healthy food and drink choices, knowing what is in foods and making sure to get the whole family off the couch are all great places to start. Be part of the change and don’t let the epidemic affect your family.