Childhood Obesity Definition

Defining Child Obesity: Is Your Child Seriously Overweight?

Body mass index (BMI) (see childhood obesity bmi) is a common measure used defining childhood obesity. BMI can be calculated using either English or metric units. BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height that is used to determine weight status. BMI (Body Mass Index) is the generally accepted method used to screen for obesity in children and adolescents because it is relatively easy to obtain the height and weight measurements (see childhood obesity charts) needed to calculate BMI, measurements are non-invasive and BMI correlates with body fatness.While BMI is an accepted screening tool for the initial assessment of body fatness in children and adolescents, it is not a diagnostic measure ( because BMI is not a direct measure of body fatness.)

child obesityUnlike in adults, child obesity is more complicated because children go through growth spurts. You can look at the sliding scales that measure height to weight and see where they fit with kids of the same age. But there are red flags obsession with food (see childhood obesity food): thinking of food all the time as an activity as opposed to a necessity. If all they want to do is eat and go back to the kitchen again and again. Hoarding or hiding food: You find food in their room; they are embarrassed to let you know they are eating.

Measuring obesity in children: How do you know if your child is obese?

Body Fat Percentage Waist circumference (WC)

kid gets his body fat percentage measured

Body fat percentage is difficult to measure accurately, however. The most accurate methods use special equipment that is not found at most medical offices. The method that measures skinfold thickness is not reliable unless it is done correctly by a trained and experienced technician. The percentage of body weight that is fat is a good marker of child obesity.
Boys over 25% fat and girls over 32% fat are considered obese.

waist circumferenceThis measurement in a child or adolescent correlates closely with the future risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and related complications of the metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, abnormal circulating cholesterol or other fat levels, heart attack, stroke, and damage to eyes, heart, and kidneys. (see childhood obesity effects)
The assessment is made with a tape measure stretched across the widest abdominal girth (usually at or just below the level of the belly button, called the umbilicus). Any value over the 90th percentile for age and gender carries the highest risk.

Childhood Obesity BMI Measuring Childhood Obesity

childhood obesity bmi

The most common measurement tool to indicate obesity in adults is the body mass index (BMI). BMI is also recommended to measure obesity in children. BMI ranges for children and teens are defined so that they take into account normal differences in body fat between boys and girls and differences in body fat at various ages. [Read more]

measuring childhood obesityBefore measuring a child’s BMI-for-age percentile, you must first calculate his/her Body Mass Index (BMI). To locate, a Body Mass Index chart with weights and heights appropriate for children, please see the chart below which includes weights and heights appropriate for children. If your child’s BMI is not listed on chart, calculate body mass index on the Internet, fill in the child's height and weight at the Web site of the Department of Health and Human Services, Obesity Education Initiative.
[Read more]

Childhood Obesity Charts Childhood Obesity Growth Charts
childhood obesity chartsObesity in children (referred to as “overweight” in the weight status category table) is determined by using BMI-for-age percentiles. BMI-for-age percentiles is a favored method to measure weight status in children. This method calculates your child’s weight category based on age and BMI, which is a calculation of weight and height. However, it should be kept in mind that this method, among other methods, should be used as a tool, and only a physician can best determine and diagnose (see diagnosing childhood obesity) weight status in your child.
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childhood obesity growth chartsWeight categories for children and teens are defined so that they take into account normal differences in body fat between boys and girls and differences in body fat at various ages. Children’s weight categories are determined by measuring a child’s height and weight and then plotting them on a weight-to-age chart. Some doctors discuss weight by referring to weight-for-age percentiles. This is not a method to determine overweight (or child obesity) in children, but simply an indicator of growth as compared to children of the same age.
[Read more]

childhood obesity definition

Diagnosing Childhood Obesity

diagnosing childhood obesityThe terms "obese" and "overweight" often are used interchangeably. Technically, "obesity" is the upper end of "overweight."Doctors and other health care professionals are the best people to determine whether your child or adolescent's weight is healthy, and they can help rule out rare medical problems as the cause of unhealthy weight.

A Body Mass Index (BMI) can be calculated from measurements of height and weight. Health professionals often use a BMI "growth chart" to help them assess child obesity. A physician will also consider your child or adolescent's age and growth patterns to determine whether his or her weight is healthy. [Read more]

childhood obesity preventionTips for parents

What can you do as a parent or guardian or caregiver to help preventing childhood obesity? We have some ideas in our Childhood Obesity Prevention section.

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childhood obesity bmiChildhood Obesity BMI
Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most common method to measure adult obesity. However, BMI is now becoming a popular tool, which is combined with BMI-for-age percentiles, used to measure obesity in children.[Read More]
measuring childhood obesityMeasuring Childhood Obesity
For children and adolescents (aged 2–19 years), BMI is calculated and the BMI number is plotted on the BMI-for-age growth charts to obtain a percentile ranking. Separate charts for boys and girls are used.[Read More]
childhood obesity chartsChildhood Obesity Charts
These charts give general ranges of healthy weights and overweight for a child's height. Many health care providers define child obesity as weighing 20% or more over the healthy range.[Read More]
childhood obesity growth chartsChildhood Obesity Growth Charts
Growth charts show doctors how kids are growing compared with other kids of the same gender and age. It also helps to see the way kids' height and weight gain over time, and whether they're developing proportionately.[Read More]
diagnosing childhood obesityDiagnosing Childhood Obesity
Doctors and other health care professionals are the best people to find out whether a child or teen's weight is healthy, and they can help in ruling-out rare medical conditions as the effects of childhood obesity.[Read more]

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