Obesity has been increasing in the United States over the last several decades. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 2010) indicate that 17% of children ages 2-19 are overweight, with trends showing a steady increase from a prevalence of 4% in 1963.

Additional information about childhood obesity in the United States can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wesbite at www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html

Increasing rates

Why is obesity increasing? 
Causes of increased rates of obesity are many and varied, and include the following:

In Texas, 36.7% of children under age 18 are at-risk for overweight (BMI>85 percentile for age) and an additional 22.1% of children are overweight (> 95% BMI for age) (10).


What are the risks to a child for being overweight? 

Overweight status is associated with numerous significant health problems, including:


Assessment of "risk for overweight" and "overweight" are based on Body Mass Index (BMI), the ratio of weight/height2. BMI is most easily calculated as

kg ÷ (cm)2 X 10,000 or pounds ÷ (inches)2 X 703

Any child with a BMI above 85th percentile is overweight, and any child above the 95th percentile is obese. Obesity is associated with increased risk of several complications, including insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemias, obstructive sleep apnea, orthopedic problems, pseudotumor cerebri, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, and fatty changes in the liver.