All about children and obesity.
Have you heard of the term obesity or obese?
Probably. Obesity (o-bee-see-tee) is the state of being seriously overweight (overweight is when you have too much body fat) - to a degree that affects your health.
Obesity in childhood is linked to many health complications. If a child is obese, and has obese parents, there is a high likelihood that the child will be obese as an adult. This is so because kids tend to share eating lifestyle habits with parents. Note that this is not always the case.
If more than 25% of a person's total body weight is fat, then he is classified as being obese. For a woman it is more than 32% because women have a different body shape.
How do you know if you are obese?
Kids are checked against the average height and weight for kids of their age. So if a kid's weight is a lot more than the average for their height, it could be that the child is obese.
Another check is the BMI check. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).
Also there is the 'skin fold' or 'pinch' test. A health professional can measure the thickness of flesh over the triceps muscle (the underside of the arm above the elbow) and over the back of the body. It is best if a doctor or other health professional does this, as they know how to do it.
It is worrying that many parents with overweight kids do not consider them as overweight. A National Opinion Poll in the UK involving over 1,000 parents of children aged four to seven showed that only 14% of those with an obese child considered that their child was overweight.
''Did you know... that a healthy ten-year old's ribs should be clearly visible? Many parents would consider that such a child was quite underweight.”
by Professor Mary Rudolf, Obesity expert