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Obesity Percentage in Children

by Contributing Writer
  • Overview

    Obesity in children is determined by calculating the body mass index (BMI) and comparing that value on a growth chart for children of the same age and sex. A child is considered obese when BMI is in the 95th percentile or above.
  • History

    Prior to 1976, the percentage of obese children in the United States held steady at well below 10 percent, but from 1976 to 2004, the percentage of obese children has steadily increased to 17.1 percent.
  • Causes

    The increase in obesity percentage in children has been linked to children eating bigger portions, drinking more soft drinks and watching more television.
  • Health Risks

    Obesity in children increases the risk for developing related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, eating disorders and early-onset puberty. (See Reference 3)
  • Age

    From 2003 to 2004, 13 percent of children ages 2 to 5; 18.8 percent of children ages 6 to 11; and 17.4 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 19 were considered obese.
  • Sex

    Sixteen percent of girls were obese in 2004, compared with 18.2 percent of boys. In contrast, more adult women than men were obese.

    References & Resources