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Health Issues

Childhood overweight and obesity is becoming an increasingly common problem. In fact, over the past two decades it has doubled in children and tripled among adolescents in the United States. Throughout a child’s lifetime, chronic obesity can lead to potentially serious health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure. It also can cause psychological stresses associated with feeling different from his peers, leading to depression and low self-esteem.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that both parents and pediatricians need to take steps to prevent the development of overweight problems in children. Your pediatrician can monitor annually your child’s weight gain from age one and help make sure that it remains within normal guidelines as he grows. When your child turns two years old, your doctor will calculate his body mass index (BMI). This is the weight in pounds divided by the height in inches squared, and then multiplied by 703 (or, weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared). A child with a BMI greater than the 85th percentile for age and sex is considered overweight; when the BMI is at or above the 95th percentile, he is considered obese.


Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.