What is Childhood Obesity? How do we Measure the Rising Weight of Children?

Baby fat can be cute, for a while. Unfortunately, some parents use this as a way to deny what’s really happening to their youngster. We, as parents, need to face up to facts when we see our children gaining weight that is unexplained and out of control. We need to ask for help and look for solutions to solve this serious health problem.

When it comes to adults, there are ways to readily determine obesity. For instance, in adults we can look at a person and tell if their weight fits their height and body style. Then, we have the dreaded scale. Standing on it at the doctor’s office is often emotionally painful, but as a measurement tool, it is crucial to determine if you are at the right weight for your height as well as your age. This information forms the all important BMI or Body Mass Index which is the true measurement as it relates to obesity.

For children, it’s not that easy. Simply looking at a child will not help you determine if they are overweight. There are modified BMI charts used specifically for children. In simplest terms, childhood obesity is considered a problem if a child has more body mass than is normal or healthy for their age and height. According to the CDC, if a child has a BMI above the 95 percentile for their age, they are obese. But each age in childhood brings with it a different set of growth circumstances that also have to be taken into consideration.

How to Handle Childhood Obesity

There is no harm in consulting your pediatrician if you think your child is getting a bit thick around the middle. Your doctor will examine your child and advise you if obesity is something you need to worry about. Some children gain weight just before they experience a growth spurt. It can appear that your child goes from skinny to chunky and then chunky to skinny in the blink of an eye. That’s why we have to be careful about diagnosing a child as obese without all the information. As in the case of a growth spurt, the child’s weight was in proportion to the soon-to-be added height.

The Shocking Statistics of Childhood Obesity

You may have already heard many of these statistics about obesity, but they bear mentioning again. Our children are bombarded with influences from outside sources on a daily basis, but many, if not most, of their habits begin at home.

  1. According to the American Obesity Association, as much as fifteen percent of children and teens are obese in this country.
  2. Children are more likely to be obese when they have obese parents.
  3. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults.
  4. Heredity accounts for about one quarter of all the obese children.

Are you shocked? Do these childhood obesity statistics scare you? Obesity is one of the biggest epidemics in society today and it doesn’t just affect adults. As parents, we have the power to make a difference in the health of our children. Now is a good time to do something about childhood obesity.



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