Child Obesity Toolkit

The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living is developing a series of toolkits to accompany the reports, Healthy Children, Healthy State, to raise awareness of child health risk factors in order to develop new programs and actions, and to build on current initiatives in Texas.

The Child Obesity Toolkit below is based on evidence, best-practices, and findings from an external messaging campaign conducted in 2019 for the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. This toolkit consists of resources, data, tools, and guides. Use this toolkit to learn about the current obesity crisis in Texas and how you can impact our state's health as a parent, schoolcommunity member, or policymakerResources relating to COVID-19’s impact on child obesity are included in all categories.

This toolkit was last updated on December 22, 2021.

General Childhood Obesity Resources:

  • The School Physical Activity & Nutrition (SPAN) Survey from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living published their 2015-2016 Child Obesity in Texas results online in an interactive database. This interactive database shows results by state and regions of the state for grades 2, 4, 8, and 11.
  • Healthy Eating Research released a report on recommendations for creating healthy eating habits for kids ages 2 - 8.
  • The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living compiled a listing of common school health terms to help educate those interested in getting involved in school health. 9/9/2020
  • The Healthy Children, Healthy State status report project from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living published the Child Obesity Crisis in Texas one-pager to highlight the current state of child obesity in Texas. 1/20/2021
  • Learn how you can fit health into every day with these one-pagers from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. They cover healthy snacking, breakfast, hydration, and physical activity and are available in English and Spanish. 8/31/2014
  • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has a great handbook for maintaining a healthy weight for families. They include nutrition, physical activity, and screen time reduction tips. 9/30/2013
  • The Obesity Action Coalition has a Texas state fact sheet on adult and child obesity. 


Ask for change at schools:

  • The Center for Disease Control has a helpful promotion kit with ideas and resources to help with asking for a healthy school environment.
  • The Texas PTA has an advocacy resource guide with strategies and resources for effective advocating to make a difference in the lives of children within your PTA.
  • The Society for Prevention Research has a policy brief detailing how "Schools Can Help Every Student Succeed by Using Evidence-based Programs and Practices."
  • Action for Healthy Kids has information on making change on school health, including "How Schools Work," "Assess Your School's Health," and "No I in Team."

Make healthy choices at home:

  • Take a fun, healthy challenge as a family! This calendar from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living features healthy ideas for every day over the course of 1-3 months. Tasks include eating at least one piece of fruit, playing outside for 30 minutes, spending less than 1 hour playing video games, and more. 9/18/2018


Learn about the child obesity crisis in Texas:

  • The Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation report identifies recommendations to meet obesity-related goals, including strengthening schools as the heart of health. 2012

Ask for change at schools:

Individual school wellness:

  • The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research compiled a list of resources to keep kids healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The list includes research repositories and ways for teachers and parents to keep kids active. 4/28/2020
  • The Texas Department of State Health Services' overview on School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) provides information about starting, assembling, and running a SHAC. 7/24/2020
  • Action for Healthy Kids has a program for starting your own School Wellness Team (SHACs). 
  • CATCH Global Foundation has health programs on a variety of topics for early child care centers, elementary, middle, and high schools, and after school programs.
  • The State of Childhood Obesity, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project, compiled a listing of how school nutrition professionals are combating hunger and providing nutritious food to kids nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. 4/14/2020


Learn about the child obesity crisis in Texas:

  • These reports from the Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living shows the impact of childhood obesity and adult obesity on COVID-19 health outcomes. 10/12/2020
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation released their 2020 KIDS COUNT Data Book to explore how America's child population has changed since 1990. This report illustrates the Texas ranking in terms of child health and provides demographic comparisons of Texas children vs. US children. 6/22/2020
  • Salud America! wrote a report covering the discrepancy between Latino and Black youth obesity rates in comparison to white obesity rates nationwide. 10/24/2018
  • The State of Obesity is an annual report that includes a list of current state policies to prevent obesity and promote health. The interactive report showcases more than 20 state policies and can be viewed by state or used to compare states. 2020
  • The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published a paper on the "Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Interventions for the Prevention and Treatment of Pediatric Overweight and Obesity." 10/01/2013

Promote healthy choices:

  • The Let's Move! initiative has 5 simple steps for community leaders and organizations to encourage healthy living. Leaders in the community can empower families and community members to make better choices to improve health.
  • Hubspot shared tips on writing for blogs. You can use this knowledge to craft your own health messaging in your community. 10/14/2020

Ask for change in your community:

  • Follow the 2021 Texas Legislative Session and learn about proposed bills related to healthy living. The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living Legislative Tracker is used to follow health related bills, including obesity, school health, and food policy among others. 
  • The Partnership for a Healthy Texas hosted a webinar discussing how community members can support good legislative policy and be involved in local politics. 3/28/2019


Learn about the obesity crisis in Texas: