Niños Saños, Familia Sana: Family Nutrition Education
Niños Saños, Familia Sana: Family Nutrition Education
Niños Saños, Familia Sana: Family Nutrition Education
University of California
Niños Saños, Familia Sana: Family Nutrition Education

Lesson 2.1: Growing healthy children

Background: In the US, two-thirds of adults and one-third of children and youth are overweight or obese. Many parents do not see their children as being overweight and are unaware of the health risks. Children who are obese are more likely to have high blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as psychological and social problems. They are also more likely to be obese as adults and develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or certain cancers.

Health professionals use growth charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor a child’s growth from birth through 19 years.These growth charts allow a comparison of an individual child’s growth to that of other children in the United States. Health professionals may be concerned when children gain weight faster or slower than expected.


Teaching tips: This lesson is designed for providing personalized feedback on child growth, based on actual measurement of children’s weight and height. We would not recommend simply distributing the personalized health report card without providing a lesson and discussion with the families. If neither personalized nor community-level data are available, educators can review the health report card handout and encourage parents to discuss their child’s growth with a health provider.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses the term “overweight” to refer to children between the 85th and 95th percentiles (yellow zone) and “obesity” for children at or above the 95th percentile (red zone).  Based on recommendations from community members, we used the terms “at risk” rather than “overweight” and “overweight” rather than “obese” in this lesson.

UC ANR Photo repository: Martin
UC ANR Photo repository: Martin


Target Audience: Latino families with young children, ages 3 to 8 years

Key Message: Help children grow up being healthy by providing nutritious foods and opportunities for physical activity.

Objectives: By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

1) Identify the risks of childhood overweight;

2) Describe the extent of the problem in the participants’ community; and

3) Discuss what families and communities can do to help children grow and develop normally.


  • Laptop, projector, and screen;
  • Powerpoint slides;
  • Pictures of children of different sizes --normal, overweight, obese (optional);
  • Colored (8.5”X11”) papers (2 red, 2 yellow, 2 green);
  • Personalized health reports;
  • Growth chart with red, yellow, green zones;
  • Referral sheets with phone numbers for local health clinic;
  • MyPlate mini poster
  • Recipes and food demonstration supplies

Handouts: recipes (suggested Tasty Turkey Chili); health reports referral sheets to a local clinic

Set-up: Set up projector, laptop, and slides. Tape the colored sheets of paper to a wall or easel.

Click here to download complete lesson plan (English version)

Handouts, Activity Sheets, and Visual Aids

Tasty Turkey Chili (English) (Spanish)

Health Report with photo of boy (Bilingual)

Health Report with photo of girl (Bilingual)

Growing healthy children slides/visual aids (English)

Other Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics. Healthy Children. Healthy Living (English) (Spanish)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clinical Growth Charts

Webmaster Email: