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The number of overweight children in the United States has grown at an alarming rate, with 1 out of 3 kids considered overweight or obese.

Preventing kids from becoming overweight means making choices in the way your family eats and exercises, and how you spend time together.

A number of things contribute to becoming overweight.

People in the same family tend to have similar eating patterns, maintain the same levels of physical activity, and adopt the same attitudes toward being overweight.

For example, a muscular person may have a high BMI without being overweight (extra muscle adds to body weight — but not fatness).

Also, BMI might be hard to interpret during puberty when kids have periods of rapid growth.

It's important to remember that BMI is usually a good indicator — but is a direct measurement — of body fat.

If you're worried that your child or teen may be overweight, make an appointment with your doctor, who will ask about eating and activity habits and make suggestions on how to make positive changes.

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Try to avoid these common food/eating behavior traps: If you eat well, exercise regularly, and build healthy habits into your daily life, you're modeling a healthy lifestyle for your kids.

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