Active living A way of life that integrates physical activity into daily routines. The two types of activities that comprise active living are recreational or leisure, such as jogging, skateboarding, and playing basketball; and utilitarian or occupational such as walking or biking to school, shopping, or running errands.
Away-from-home foods Foods categorized according to where they are obtained such as restaurants and other places with wait service; fast food establishments and self-service or carry-out eateries; schools, including day care, after-school programs, and summer camp; and other outlets, including vending machines, community feeding programs, and eating at someone else’s home.
Balanced diet The overall dietary pattern of foods consumed that provide all the essential nutrients in the appropriate amounts to support life processes, such as growth in children without promoting excess weight gain.
Basal metabolism The amount of energy needed for maintenance of life when a person is at digestive, physical, and emotional rest.
Body mass index BMI is an indirect measure of body fat calculated as the ratio of a person’s body weight in kilograms to the square of a person’s height in meters.
In children and youth, BMI is based on growth charts for age and gender and is referred to as BMI-for-age which is used to assess under-weight, overweight, and risk for overweight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a child with a BMI-for-age that is equal to or greater than the 95th percentile is considered to be overweight. A child with a BMI-for-age that is equal to or between the 85th and 95th percentile is considered to be at risk of being overweight. In this report, the definition of obesity is equivalent to the CDC definition of overweight.
Built environment The man-made elements of the physical environment; buildings, infrastructure, and other physical elements created or modified by people and the functional use, arrangement in space, and aesthetic qualities of these elements.
Calorie A kilocalorie is defined as the amount of heat required to change the temperature of one gram of water from 14.5 degrees Celsius to 15.5 degrees Celsius. In this report, calorie is used synonymously with kilocalorie as a unit of measure for energy obtained from food and beverages.
Community A social entity that can be spatially based on where people live in local neighborhoods, residential districts, or municipalities, or relational such as people who have common ethnic or cultural characteristics or share similar interests.
Co-morbidity In relation to obesity, an associated condition such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or asthma that worsens with weight gain and improves with weight loss.
Competitive foods Foods and beverages offered at schools other than meals and snacks served through the federally reimbursed school lunch, breakfast and after-school snack programs. Competitive foods includes food and beverages items sold through à la carte lines, snack bars, student stores, vending machines, and school fundraisers.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans A federal summary of the latest dietary guidance for the public based on current scientific evidence and medical knowledge, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is revised every 5 years.
Dietary Reference Intakes A set of four, distinct nutrient-based reference values that replace the former Recommended Dietary Allowances in the United States. They include Estimated Average Requirements, Recommended Dietary Allowances, Adequate Intakes, and Tolerable Upper Level Intakes.
Disability A physical, intellectual, emotional, or functional impairment that limits a major activity, and may be a complete or partial impairment.
Disease An impairment, interruption, disorder, or cessation of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or of any of its components that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, being a response to environmental factors (e.g., malnutrition, industrial hazards, climate), to specific infective agents (e.g., worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (e.g., various genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors; conceptually, a disease (which is usually tangible or measurable but may be symptom-free) is distinct from illness (i.e., the associated pain, suffering, or distress, which is highly individual and personal).
Energy balance A state where energy intake is equivalent to energy expenditure, resulting in no net weight gain or weight loss. In this report, energy balance in children is used to indicate equality between energy intake and energy expenditure that supports normal growth without promoting excess weight gain.
The relation between intake of food and output of work that is positive when the body stores extra food as fat and negative when the body draws on stored fat to provide energy for work.
Energy density The amount of energy stored in a given food per unit volume or mass. Fat stores 9 kilocalories/gram (gm), alcohol stores 7 kilocalories/gm, carbohydrate and protein each store 4 kilocalories/gm, fiber stores 1.5 to 2.5 kilocalories/gm, and water has no calories. Foods that are almost entirely composed of fat with minimal water (e.g., butter) are more energy dense than foods that consist largely of water, fiber, and carbohydrates (e.g., fruits and vegetables).
Energy expenditure Calories used to support the body’s basal metabolic needs plus those used for thermogenesis, growth, and physical activity.
Energy intake Calories ingested as food and beverages.
Environment The external influences on the life of an individual or community.
Epidemic A condition that is occurring more frequently and extensively among individuals in a community or population than is expected.
Exercise Planned, structured, and repetitive body movements done to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness, such as maintaining or increasing muscle tone and strength.
Fast food Foods designed for ready availability, use, or consumption and sold at eating establishments for quick availability or take-out.
Fat The chemical storage form of fatty acids as glycerol esters, also known as triglycerides. Fat is stored primarily in adipose tissue located throughout the body, but mainly under the skin (subcutaneously) and around the internal organs (viscerally). Fat mass is the sum total of the fat in the body while, correspondingly, the remaining, nonfat components of the body constitute the fat-free mass. Lean tissues such as muscle, bone, skin, blood, and the internal organs are the principal locations of the body’s fat-free mass. In common practice, however, the terms “fat” and “adipose tissue” are often used interchangeably. Furthermore, “fat” is commonly used as a subjective or descriptive term that may have a pejorative meaning.
Fitness A set of attributes, primarily respiratory and cardiovascular, relating to ability to perform tasks requiring physical activity.
Food Guide Pyramid An educational tool designed for the public that translates and graphically illustrates recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and nutrient standards such as the Dietary Reference Intakes into food-group-based advice that promotes a healthful diet.
Food security Access by all people, at all times to sufficient food for an active and healthful life, including, at a minimum, the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods and an assured ability to acquire foods in socially acceptable ways.
Food system The interrelated functions that encompass food production, processing, and distribution; food access and utilization by individuals, households, communities, and populations; and food recycling, composting, and disposal.
Foods of minimal nutritional value Foods prohibited by federal regulation for sale in school food service areas during meal periods. For artificially sweetened foods, FMNV are defined as providing less than 5 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for each of eight specified nutrients (protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, calcium, iron) per serving; for all other foods, defined as providing less than 5 percent of the RDI for each of eight specified nutrients per 100 calories and less than 5 percent of the RDI for each of eight specified nutrients per serving. The four categories of foods specified in the regulation are: soda water, water ices, chewing gum, and certain candies (i.e., hard candy, jellies and gums, marshmallow candies, fondant, licorice, and spun candy).
Health A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Health promotion The process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health. To reach a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living, and is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.
Healthy weight In children and youth, a level of body fat where co-morbidities are not observed. In adults, a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/ m2.
Nutrient density The amount of nutrients that a food contains per unit volume or mass. Nutrient density is independent of energy density although, in practice, the nutrient density of a food is often described in relationship to the food’s energy density. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense but not energy dense. Compared to foods of high-fat content, soda or soft drinks are not particularly energy dense because these are made up primarily of water and carbohydrate, but because they are otherwise low in nutrients, their energy density is high for the nutrient content.
Nutrition Facts panel Standardized detailed nutritional information on the contents and serving sizes of nearly all packaged foods sold in the marketplace. The panel was designed to provide nutrition information to consumers and was mandated by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1994.
Obesity An excess amount of subcutaneous body fat in proportion to lean body mass. In adults, a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese. In this report, obesity in children and youth refers to the age- and gender-specific BMI that are equal to or greater than the 95th percentile of the CDC BMI charts. In most children, these values are known to indicate elevated body fat and to reflect the co-morbidities associated with excessive body fatness.
Obesogenic Environmental factors that may promote obesity and encourage the expression of a genetic predisposition to gain weight.
Overweight In children and youth, BMI is used to assess underweight, overweight, and risk for overweight. Children’s body fatness changes over the years as they grow. Girls and boys differ in their body fatness as they mature, thus, BMI for children, also referred to as BMI-for-age, is gender and age specific. BMI-for-age is plotted on age- and gender-specific BMI charts for children and teens 2 to 20 years. According to CDC, at risk of overweight is defined as BMI-for-age 85th percentile to < 95th percentile. Overweight is defined as BMI-for-age ≥ 95th percentile.
Physical activity Body movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure above the basal level. Physical activity consists of athletic, recreational, housework, transport, or occupational activities that require physical skills and utilize strength, power, endurance, speed, flexibility, range of motion, or agility.
Physical education Refers to a planned, sequential program of curricula and instruction that helps students develop the knowledge, attitudes, motor skills, self-management skills, and confidence needed to adopt and maintain physically active lifestyles.
Physical fitness A set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity. The ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies.
Physical inactivity Not meeting the type, duration, and frequency of recommended leisure-time and occupational physical activities.
Population health The state of health of an entire community or population as opposed to that of an individual. It is concerned with the interrelated factors that affect the health of populations over the life course, and the distribution of the patterns of health outcomes.
Prevention With regard to obesity, primary prevention represents avoiding the occurrence of obesity in a population; secondary prevention represents early detection of disease through screening with the purpose of limiting its occurrence; and tertiary prevention involves preventing the sequelae of obesity in childhood and adulthood.
Risk The possibility or probability of loss, injury, disadvantage, or destruction.
Risk analysis Risk analysis is broadly defined to include risk assessment, risk characterization, risk communication, risk management, and policy relating to risk, in the context of risks of concern to individuals, to public-and private-sector organizations, and to society at a local, regional, national, or global level.
Safety The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk or injury that either may be perceived or objectively defined.
School meals Comprises the food service activities that take place within the school setting. The federal child nutrition programs include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, and Special Milk Program.
Sedentary A way of living or lifestyle that requires minimal physical activity and that encourages inactivity through limited choices, disincentives, and/or structural or financial barriers.
Well-being A view of health that takes into account a child’s physical, social, and emotional health.