In this section
Body mass index (BMI) is the standard tool to assess child overweight and obesity in children over 2 years
BMI is calculated using the following formula:
BMI = weight (kg) / height (m2)
Waist circumference can be used as an adjunct to BMI; - a waist-to-height ratio of > 0.5 in children as young as 6 years may be useful in predicting cardiovascular risk in children, and is easy to calculate
Unlike adults where a single BMI can be applied across all ages, BMI for children depends on age and stage of growth
For children 2 – 18 years or age, overweight is defined as BMI >85th centile on BMI chart
Obese is defined as BMI >95th centile on CDC BMI chart or >97th centile on WHO BMI chart.
For children under 2 years, overweight is defined as above the 97th percentile on WHO growth charts and gaining weight rapidly.
Obesity predisposes children to a range of serious medical conditions including insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease
Overweight children are at risk of low self-esteem, negative self-image and social isolation