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What is childhood obesity? How to diagnose childhood obesity?

• Obesity is a condition where the body gains weight way more than the ideal weight.
• Obesity means an excess amount of body fat.
• Pediatric obesity represents one of our greatest health challenges.
• Obesity has a profound effect on a patient’s life.
• Obesity increases the patient’s risk of numerous health problems.
• It also can create emotional and social problems.
• Obese children are also more likely to be obese as adults.
• It increases their lifelong risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.
• If your child or teenager is overweight, further weight gain can be prevented.

When to Seek Medical Care?

• If you think that your child is overweight
• If your child or teenager has expressed concerns about his or her weight
• If your child or teenager has problems keeping up with peers in physical fitness or sports

Diagnosis of Childhood Obesity

1. Weight-to-height tables
• There are tables give general ranges of healthy weight.
• These tables define being overweight based on the height of the child or teenager.
• Many health care professionals define obesity in a child as weighing 20% or more over the healthy range.
• The health care professional must consider the patient’s age, gender, pubertal stage, and growth pattern when interpreting the weight-to-height chart.

2. Body fat percentage
• The percentage of body weight that is fat is a good marker of obesity.
• Boys with over 25% fat and girls with over 32% fat are considered obese.
• Body fat percentage is difficult to measure accurately.
• The most accurate methods use special equipment not found at most medical offices.
• The method that measures skin-fold thickness is unreliable.
• This has to be performed correctly by a trained and experienced technician.

3. Body mass index (BMI)
• This measure assesses weight relative to height.
• It is the same as the body mass index used to identify adult obesity.
• BMI is defined as weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters) squared (kg/m2).
• BMI can be calculated in pounds and inches.
• BMI is closely related to body fat percentage but much easier to measure.
• BMI is the standard for defining obesity in adults, but its use in children is not universal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests two levels of concern for children based on the BMI-for-age charts.
• At the 85th percentile and above, children are “at risk for overweight.”
• At the 95th percentile or above, they are “overweight.”

To calculate a child’s BMI, follow these steps:
• Multiply the child’s weight in pounds by 705.
• Then divide by the child’s height (in inches).
• Divide this again by the height (in inches) again.

4. Waist circumference (WC)
This 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.
These includes:
• high blood pressure
• abnormal cholesterol
• other fat levels
• heart attack
• stroke
• damage to eyes, heart, and kidneys
The assessment is made with a tape measure stretched across the widest abdominal girth.
Any value over the 90% percentile for age and gender carries the highest risk.

Your Child’s Weight Supersized to Superhealthy! SuperSized Kids

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