Childhood Obesity


Image Caption : From Obese Kid to Obese Adult : A composite visualization of (right to left) an overweight male toddler an obese school-age boy and an obese adult male. All are depicted with visible cardiovascular system subcutaneous fat and some skeletal bones. Overweight and obesity rates among children ages 2-19 have more than tripled since 1970. The school-age boy drinks a soda pop one of the main sources of low-nutrient calories consumed by young people in the U.S. Photo credits: Ed Yourdon and Steven Fruitsmaak.

Obesity in Children

Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height. Children grow at different rates, so it isn't always easy to know when a child is obese or overweight. Ask your health care provider to check whether your child's weight and height are in a healthy range.

If a weight-loss program is necessary, involve the whole family in healthy habits so your child doesn't feel singled out. Encourage healthy eating by

  • Serving more fruits and vegetables
  • Buying fewer soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie snack foods
  • Making sure your child eats breakfast every day
  • Eating fast food less often
  • Not using food as a reward

Physical activity is also very important. Kids need about 60 minutes each day. It does not have to happen all at once. Several short periods of activity during the day are just as good.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child's health or well-being. As methods to determine body fat directly are difficult, the diagnosis of obesity is often based on BMI. Due to the rising prevalence of obesity in children and its many adverse health effects it is being recognized as a serious public health concern. The term overweight rather than obese is often used in children as it is less stigmatizing.



The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.