Pediatric Obesity

Parents: Know Your Child’s BMI

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using body mass index (BMI) to screen for overweight children beginning at age 2 and through age 19. BMI highlights the risk for serious medical conditions and is a good indicator of whether or not a child will grow into an overweight adult.

To calculate BMI, the child’s weight is divided by his/her height squared and the result multiplied by 703 (weight ÷ height2 x 703). Calculate a child’s BMI. Once parents determine their child’s BMI, they should discuss it with their doctor.

  • Children with BMIs between the 85th and 95th percentiles are considered overweight.
  • Children with a BMI above the 95th percentile are considered obese.

Because children can grow quickly, especially during puberty, the child’s doctor can best interpret whether a BMI score is concerning.

What We Know About Kids and Obesity Today

Currently 30% of American youth are overweight or obese*

  • In 2 to 3-year-olds, overweight prevalence is up 40% since 1994
  • Incidence of overweight has doubled for children 2 to 5 years old since 1970
  • 10% of preschoolers are overweight
  • Overweight 2-year-olds are twice as likely to become an obese adult
  • Obese 6-year-olds have a 50% risk of obesity at 35 years old
  • Obese 10-year-olds have a 70 to 80% risk of obesity at 35 years old

Source: Bray 2002,Freedman D, et al 1999; Dietz 1998a, Dietzs 1998b,Guo et al. 2002; Kramer 2002; Kvaavik et al. 2003; Must 2003; Polk 2005; Whitaker et al. 1997; WIC 2002

* Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS, Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004

According to the Ohio’s Children Healthy Ohio Program 2009:

  • Ohio ranks 15th highest in nation in obesity rate
  • Nearly 19% of Ohio 3rd graders are overweight and 17% are obese
  • 33.9% of Hispanic, 25.3% black, and 27.2% white children in Ohio are overweight or obese

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