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Obesity in Children

What is obesity? How does it affect children? We must first define obesity in order to get a better understanding of what it is and how we can prevent it in children. Obesity is when a person or child contains too much body fat and is beyond being overweight due to genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, or any combination of the three. Children grow each day at different rates, which makes it a little difficult to distinguish if he/she is at a healthy weight range. If a weight loss program is needed then consult with a physician first and involve the whole family so the child doesn’t feel left out. With the right meal plan and some type of physical activity, like exercise, the child will be off to a good start at getting back to normal weight.

One out of five children in the United States who are overweight or obese is increasing at an alarming rate with expected continued grow each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the body mass index (BMI) percentile for children and teens reported that overweight is defined as the 85th percentile, obese is defined as the 95th percentile, and normal weight is defined as the 5th percentile on the growth chart. BMI is a reliable indicator of body fat that calculates a child’s weight and height to get a percentage. BMI is not a direct measure of body fat, but rather it’s an alternative to direct measures of body fat.

Current children who are overweight or obese are at high risks of becoming overweight or obese adolescents and adults. They are at risk for developing chronic diseases (heart disease & diabetes) and other medical conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and skin problems. Children may also experience stress, depression, negative body image, and low self-esteem issues. Since weight problems run in the family, then it’s important to establish a healthy diet and play time activity instead of watching TV all hours of the day. Many kids today are spending more time watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the web. Preventing kids from becoming overweight or obese means to start eating healthier foods (home cooked meals instead of fast foods), engage in physical activity (exercise, walks, biking, swimming, playtime at the park, etc.), and spending time together as a family. Parents should monitor their children and provide a healthy lifestyle. Parents lead by example, so it’s important to practice good and healthy habits for children to follow.

For more information on the food guide pyramid, fun games, and activities please visit this website: http://www.mypyramid.gov/kids/




CDC Staff (2011). About BMI for children and teens. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USA.Gov. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_bmi/about_childrens_bmi.html

Doheny, K. (2010). Kids not only obese, they’re extremely obese. WebMD, LLC. Retrieved from http://children.webmd.com/news/20100318/kids-not-only-obese-but-extremely-obese

KidsHealth.Org (2009). Overweight and Obesity. Kids Health from Nemours: The Nemours Foundation. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/body/overweight_obesity.html#

U.S. National Library of Medicine (2011). Obesity in children. NIH National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/obesityinchildren.html

WebMD (2010). Obesity in children. WebMD, LLC. Retrieved from http://children.webmd.com/obesity-children


Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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