Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Healthy Weight for Your Child or Teen


More and more children are developing adult medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

It's important to make healthy eating and exercise part of your family's lifestyle to prevent health problems. Model and promote healthy routines that will last throughout your child's life. Positive choices include:

  • Being active. Aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, like walking, riding bikes, playing in the park, or dancing.
  • Filling up on veggies. Half the plate should be fruits and vegetables. 
  • Fueling up with healthy breakfast every morning.
  • Eating meals together as a family.
  • Limiting nonschool screen time to 1 to 2 hours a day. This includes TV, smartphones, tablets, computers, and video games.  
  • Choosing water or plain milk. Soda, sports drinks, and other sweetened beverages cause weight gain. A cup of juice may seem like a healthy option but has as much sugar as a candy bar.
  • Making sleep a priority. Kids need about 10 hours of sleep to recharge and reach their full potential each day. Teens need 9 hours of sleep.

Weight Gain Causes and Risks

Weight gain can be caused by a combination of factors such as:

  • Unhealthy eating
  • Inactivity
  • Genetics
  • Other lifestyle habits

Being overweight can increase your child’s risk of developing health problems now or later in life. These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem
  • Joint problems
  • High blood pressure and heart disease

Focus on Health

Children and teens come in different shapes and sizes, and they grow at different rates. There is no "ideal" height and weight.  

Focus on healthy food choices and physical activity instead of weight loss.

Let your kids know that you love, accept, and appreciate them. They may be hearing critical comments from their peers. It’s important that you help boost their self-esteem.

Talk to us if you’re concerned that your child is gaining weight too quickly. For children 2 years and older, we use the body mass index (BMI) calculator to see if they’re within a healthy weight range for their height, taking into consideration age and gender.

We will also evaluate your child’s:

  • Family and medical history
  • Eating habits
  • Exercise habits

We may refer you to a nutritionist. We can also recommend health classes and exercise programs that can help

Healthy Eating

Changing the way your family eats can be difficult at first. Start by keeping healthy food around the house, eliminating unhealthy food, and setting a good example. Encourage your kids to:

  • Fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables. 
  • Eat a good breakfast every day that includes some protein.
  • Choose water or unsweetened milk.
  • Avoid soda, sports drinks, juice, and other sweetened beverages. 
  • Eat meals together when possible. Encourage conversation, sharing, and laughter. 
  • Limit fast food. Fast food is high in salt, fat, and extra calories. If you must eat fast food occasionally, order smaller sizes and choose lower-calorie options.
  • Read food labels so you know what you're eating.
  • Turn the TV off during meals. Eating while watching TV can lead to overeating.
  • Offer calcium-rich foods, including unsweetened milk, yogurt, and dark leafy greens.
  • Keep healthy snacks around for after school or between classes. Fruits, nuts, unsweetened yogurt, cheese sticks, and baby carrots are good choices.
  • Pack healthy lunches as an alternative to school meals. Avoid processed food.
  • Encourage your child to help with grocery lists, shopping, and cooking.
  • Don’t bribe or reward your child with food. Offer hugs, stickers, praise, or small toys instead.
  • Teach children to avoid eating when they’re not hungry. If kids eat when they feel bored, sad, stressed out, or lonely, they may be using food to deal with feelings. Talk to your doctor if your child fits this pattern.
  • Don't let your kids skip meals. If they get too hungry, they're more likely to overeat or choose unhealthy foods.

Serving Sizes

Serving sizes change based on a child's age. Offering children servings that are too large for them can lead to overeating. Some tips to remember:

  • Stick to healthy serving sizes. One serving of lean meat, fish, or poultry is the size of your palm. A serving of fruit or vegetables is the size of your fist. This works for adults and kids, as their portion size grows with them.
  • Measure food with a measuring cup or kitchen scale to get an idea of serving sizes.
  • Encourage children to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.
  • Don't force your kids to eat everything on their plates.

These are suggested amounts of servings per day for children based on average activity levels:

AgeGrainsVegetablesFruitsMilk & milk productsMeats & beans
2 to 3 years4 oz.1 cup1 cup2 cups2 to 4 oz.
4 to 8 years5 oz.2 cups1½ cups2 cups5 oz.
8 to 12 years6 oz.2½ cups2 cups3 cups5½ oz.

Staying Active

Children and teens need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. 

If you’re less active, start with small increases:

  • Take family walks or bike rides.
  • Go to the park or pool.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk instead of driving for short trips and errands.
  • Check local YMCAs, schools, and community centers for exercise programs.
  • Use a step-counter (pedometer, app, or fitness device) to help motivate your family to walk.
  • Walk or bike to school if safe and practical.
Limit screen time

TV, video games, and the Internet can be educational and entertaining for your child. Many children now use laptops at school and for homework. However, too much screen time can have unhealthy side effects. 

Here are some things you can do to help your kids engage in a more active lifestyle:

  • Limit nonschool screen time (TV, smartphones, computers, and video games) to 1 to 2 hours each day.
  • Move the TV out of the bedroom. This will help your child sleep better.
  • Designate certain days of the week as screen-free days.
  • Exercise as a family. Walk or bike to a local park. Play active sports together.
  • Read, listen to music, or create art projects.
  • Play board games together.
  • Go to your local library.

For Toddlers

Toddlers can have picky eating habits. Most toddlers are becoming more independent and saying "no" to many things, including food. They may resist trying new foods. This can make healthy eating a challenge. We recommend that you:

  • Feed your kids like the rest of the family. They can eat most of the foods you eat, as long as these are soft and/or cut into small pieces that are easy to handle. Your child will learn to like new foods when they see, smell, and taste them over and over again. Be patient.
  • Decide what food to serve and when. Let your kids decide whether they are hungry and how much to eat. Don’t make them clean their plate.  
  • Limit snacks. Toddlers may want to snack all day rather than eating meals. To encourage your toddler to eat at mealtime, it's okay to limit snacks. 

We recommend that you avoid:

  • Making a different meal if your child refuses to eat. Children's appetites change. When your child is sick or teething, she may not eat much. At other times, she may eat a lot.
  • Offering dessert as a reward for finishing a meal.
  • Serving foods that could cause choking. These include whole nuts, grapes, or hot dogs. Popcorn, chunks of meat and vegetables, and peanut butter should also be avoided.
  • Giving juice, candy, and other foods that stick to teeth. Avoiding this helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Putting your child to bed with milk or juice. Avoiding this helps your child have better sleep patterns and also prevents tooth decay.

For Teens

Teen’s bodies and minds are changing and growing a lot. Help them appreciate their changing body. Set a good example by:

  • Being physically active every day.
  • Snacking on healthy foods such as nuts and veggies.
  • Being positive about your own body shape.
  • Keeping the focus on health, not weight. Teens need healthy foods and exercise for strength and energy.
  • Eating at home with your teen at least 5 times a week. Home-cooked meals are healthier. Eating together keeps the channels of communication open between you and your teen.
  • Setting smartphones aside during meals.

We recommend that you avoid:

  • Skipping meals or going too long without eating. When too hungry, teens may be more likely to overeat or choose unhealthy foods. Keep healthy foods at home for snacks and meals.
  • Crash diets. They don’t have long-term results and tend to cause rebound weight gain. 
  • Diet pills. Remind your teen that diet pills and supplements don't work and can be dangerous.
  • Excessive screen time. Help your child to cut back on nonschool screen time (TV, smartphones, computers, and video games) to no more than 1 or 2 hours a day. 
  • Soda and other sweetened drinks. Soda is liquid sugar (up to 12 spoonfuls in a can) and has been linked to weight gain. Sweetened tea or coffee drinks, juice, and sports drinks are all loaded with sugar and extra calories. Help them cut back and switch to water.
  • Smartphones in bedrooms at night. This can reduce stress and allow better sleep.

Additional References:

Related Health Tools:

Interactive Programs

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.