Are you the parent, guardian or the loved one of a child who is overweight or obese?
- Are you wondering what is causing your child to overeat and gain weight?
- Are you interested in learning about safe and healthy way to lose weight for your child?
How big is the problem of being overweight or obese in children?
Being overweight or obese is not uncommon among children. In fact, one in three children between the ages of 3-11 years of age are considered overweight or obese.
Alarming Statistics on Pediatric Obesity
- According the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
- The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
- In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
Why should I be concerned about the weight of my child?
You should be concerned about the weight of your child because research shows that being overweight or obese increases the chances of many health problems now or later in life.
How can I tell if my child is overweight?
- Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.
- Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.
- Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.
One way to determine a person’s weight status is to calculate body mass index (BMI). The BMI measures a person’s weight in relation to his or her height. The BMI of children is age- and sex-specific and known as the “BMI-for-age.” BMI-for-age uses growth charts created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the year 2000.
How is children’s BMI different from adult BMI?
Since children’s BMI is not just a mathematical formula but a percentile rank, the pediatric BMI is different from that of adult BMI.
How is percentile score calculated and how to understand it?
The percentile score looks at how your child compares to others of same sex, age and height plotted on a scale of 0-100. For example, your child’s BMI is 91 percentile, it means that about 90 percent of children are below your child’s BMI and only 9 percent are the same or more in BMI compared to your child.
What is the ideal BMI percentile for my child?
The ideal percentile is like 50 percentile and the healthy children BMI range is between 5th to 84th percentile.
Here are the children’s BMI-for-age categories are these:
- healthy weight: 5th to 84th percentile
- overweight: 85th to 94th percentile
- obese: 95th percentile or greater
I know my child’s BMI is above the 85th percentile and we tried everything. Where can I get additional help?
Although most pediatricians are not very useful in helping their pediatric patients lose weight for lack of proper obesity medicine education, consulting with a W8MD medical weight loss physicians with education and experience in the new field of obesity medicine can make a difference.
I keep telling my child to “eat less, and exercise more”, why is it not working?
The key to helping your child lose weight is to first understand what is causing the weight gain to begin with, according to Dr. Prab R. Tumpati, MD, a leading obesity medicine / weight loss physician and founder of W8MD medical weight loss centers of America.
According to Dr. Tumpati, the top down approach of “eat less, exercise more” over simplifies the issue of what is causing the weight gain and puts the blame squarely on the individual. This leads to the all too prevalent “blame the victim attitude” which not only is useless in helping your child lose weight but also makes your child lose their self confidence, leads to increased tension and conflict in the home.
Could there be a metabolic reason why my child is overeating and gaining weight?
According to Dr. Tumpati, most children that are gaining weight have underlying reasons for their weight gain such as insulin resistance that affects a very high proportion of obese or overweight kids that makes them go in to a state of metabolic starvation, leading to a overeating. Until and unless we change the insulin resistance, it then becomes virtually impossible to help the child lose weight.
Is there any hope for overweight or obese child to lose weight?
Yes, of course, there is hope. Since insulin resistance is completely reversible process, with proper changes in the diet and physical activity, losing weight is not difficult with the guidance and supervision of our experienced obesity medicine physicians at W8MD medical weight loss centers of America.