Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity has important consequences for health and wellbeing both during childhood and also in later adult life. The rising prevalence of childhood obesity poses a major public health challenge in both developed and developing countries by increasing the burden of chronic noncommunicable diseases. Despite the urgent need for effective preventative strategies, there remains disagreement over its definition due to a lack of evidence on the optimal cut-offs linking childhood BMI to disease risks, and limited evidence on the most effective components of interventions to prevent childhood obesity. (Lakshman, Rajalakshmi MD, PhD; Elks, Cathy E. PhD, MPhil; Ong, Ken K. MB, BChir, PhD; Circulation Issue: Volume 126(14), 2 October 2012, p 1770–1779)
“Obesity is defined as a condition of excess body fat that creates increased risk for morbidity and/or premature mortality “In many countries, including in the United States since 2010,23 childhood obesity is defined as a BMI above the 95th percentile for age and sex (and above the 85th percentile for overweight); however, a wide range of reference BMI charts are available. (Lakshman, 2012)
In basic terms, obesity occurs because the calories con- sumed are greater than the energy expended. For example, consuming just an extra 10 calories per day could amount to a weight gain of 1 pound per year (1 pound of fat = 3,500 kcal), so it really does not take much to gain weight. Losing this extra pound of weight requires engaging in activities resulting in the expenditure of 3,500 kcal. To put this into context, an individual burns approximately 100 kcal running 1 mile. So how does one know if he or she is overweight or obese? To determine the presences of obesity, several measurements can be used.
The most frequently used determinant of body fat is to calculate body mass index (BMI), which is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (BMI = kg/height in m2) or weight in pounds times the constant 703 divided by height in inches squared (BMI = pounds × 703/height in in.2). A BMI >25 but <29.9 indicates overweight; someone with a BMI >30 is considered obese, and someone with a BMI >40 is considered morbidly obese. Children are classified according to a BMI chart, which compares weight to height and age. Children who fall between >85th and <95th percentile are considered to be at risk for overweight, and children who are >95th percentile are considered overweight. Another measure of body fat is the waist circumfer- ence, a measurement frequently touted as a better indica- tor of obesity and a more accurate predictor of health risk. Women with waist circumferences of >35 inches and men with >40 inches are considered to be at higher risk for obesity-related diseases than those with smaller waist circumferences. (Patricia T. Alpert, Obesity: A Worldwide Epidemic, Magazine – Home health Care Management Practice, 2009)
ntroduction and aim
Obesity has recently become very common in children and adolescents and its prevalence is still increasing rapidly. Strategies to combat childhood obesity have been overtaken by the scale and speed of the childhood obesity epidemic. Most parents, professionals in health and social care and education and children/adolescents are uncertain about basic issues such as what we mean by obesity in children, why it matters and what we might do to prevent it. The aim of the present review was to summarise recent systematic reviews on these topics in order to provide an informed basis for future interventions intended to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic.
Definitions: what do we mean by overweight and obesity in children and...