Childhood Obesity and BMI

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. It affects more than 30 percent of children, making it the most common chronic disease of childhood. Dr. Edward Hill looks at one of the measures for determining childhood obesity in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Body mass index, or BMI, is a measure used to determine whether a child is overweight or obese. It is calculated using a childs weight and height.

BMI does not measure body fat directly, but it is a reasonable indicator of body fatness. BMI is not used to diagnose health issues but it can be an early screening tool.

A childs weight status is determined using an age- and gender-specific percentile for BMI rather than the BMI categories used for adults because childrens body composition varies as they age and varies between boys and girls.

For children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years old:

Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and lower than the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender.

Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender.

Childhood obesity is a serious health issue. Today, more and more children are being diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension and other co-morbid conditions associated with obesity.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.