Obesity Prevention

Obesity prevention for individuals and families begins with healthier choices—balancing healthier nutrition and physical activity while managing daily stress. Eating too many calories contributes to weight gain, but so does watching too much TV and sitting for hours in front of computers.

The Delaware Public Health District recommends these healthy lifestyle basics for all Delaware County families. If you’re already battling weight, pick one or two of these basics to start.

  • Control portions
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and moderate amounts of whole grains
  • Drink more water
  • Use low-fat dairy products
  • Reduce the daily amount of soft drinks and juices with added sugars
  • Reduce the daily amount of high calorie, high fat, high sugar foods
  • Limit TV and computer time—for children 2 hours or less per day; keep TVs out of bedrooms.
  • Increase daily physical activity
  • For child-bearing families, breastfeed exclusively to 6 months

The Delaware Public Health District helps schools become key partners in the fight against child and family obesity. Healthy kids are better learners and schools can help students practice making healthy choices that affect weight.

The Health District helps schools put student, faculty and staff wellness into practice by serving on school health teams and promoting staff wellness as well as these other important school health activities:

  • Improve school food and nutrition by serving more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins while limiting the amount of high calorie high sugar snacks and beverages
  • Increase physical activity opportunities for students, ideally through daily physical education pre-kindergarten -12, daily 20 minute recess before lunch, classroom energizers and walk and bike-to-school programs
  • Join with parent-teacher organizations to support healthy eating and physical activity policies and programs at every school building

Obesity reduces worker productivity and increases health care costs. Workplace wellness programs can help prevent employee obesity.

The Delaware Public Health District promotes wellness policies and practices to all Delaware County employers. The Health District also recommends these specific obesity prevention action steps for all Delaware County Employers to get started:

  • Establish work site wellness programs with ongoing employee challenges.
  • Support breastfeeding through written policies and by providing a designated space.
  • Provide opportunities and incentives for physical activity  at work, including group classes, outdoor exercise areas, walking paths and stairwell programs.
  • Provide healthy and affordable food and beverages in employee cafeterias and vending, and guidelines for serving healthy foods at meetings and trainings.
  • Provide ongoing messages at work that promote physical activity and healthy eating, creating a culture of wellness.
  • Provide employees and their dependents health benefits that cover obesity-reduction programs

The community we live in directly affects our healthy food and physical activity options which in turn affects the severity of obesity in our community.

To help prevent obesity, the Delaware Public Health District promotes communities taking action to improve the healthy foods and physical activity that are available in every neighborhood:

  • Participate in community coalitions to prevent obesity and improve residents’ health.
  • Support and build more walking and bike paths, sidewalks,  parks & green space, public pools and community playgrounds.
  • Support community zoning and development that shortens the distance between home and shopping, encouraging more walking and bicycling to shop.
  • Improve access to fresh local fruits and vegetables and other foods from local farms.
  • Ask food retailers and restaurants to offer smaller portions and healthy menu options.
  • Enhance personal and traffic safety in areas where people can be physically active.
  • Support building schools within easy walking distance of residential areas and promote walking to school.
  • Improve access to public transportation.
  • Improve access to supermarkets in underserved areas, including offering incentives to food retailers to locate in underserved areas.