Back to basics: A review in the criteria defining obesity in children and adults
Posted Oct 12 2009 10:01pm
OK, so we hear a lot about being, heavy, chubby, baby fat, overweight, obese... What exactly are the criteria for overweight or obesity, anyway? Let's go back to basics for a bit...
Although not infallible, the best way that we have to determine medically, uniformly and objectively, whether or not a child or adult is overweight, obese, or at risk of becoming so, is the Body Mass Index (BMI). It is a calculation measured by the weight, height, and a invariable factor.
In children and teens, determining whether they are overweight or obese is determined first by obtaining their BMI calculation and then comparing it to their age and sex. Age- and sex- specific growth charts let us know in which percentile they rank compared to other children -- whether they are :
Underweight: less then 5% percentile
Healthy for age: 5-84% percentile
Overweight: 85-94% percentile
Obese: >95% percentile
For some children, it is important to maintain a certain weight as they grow. For others, it will be important to lose a certain amount of weight. Treatment depends, as well, if they have medical complications such as diabetes and high cholesterol or elevated blood pressure.