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Weight Management

What guidelines are used to determine that a person is overweight?

Growth charts have a rating scale called the Body Mass Index (BMI). By monitoring your child’s weight on this scale over time, a health care professional can determine if excessive weight is being gained in comparison to a person’s height. If a child’s BMI is at or greater than the 95th percentile he/she is considered obese. This means that the child weighs more than 95% of the children that are the same age, height and gender. A child with a BMI greater than the 85th percentile but less than the 95th percentile is considered to be overweight.

Why should I be concerned about being overweight?

Being overweight is a serious condition that can affect both your physical and emotional health. Obesity is associated with heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, some types of cancers, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression and low self-esteem. These problems can occur in children, adolescents and adults.

What causes people to become overweight?

This condition occurs when a person consistently eats more calories than their body needs. The body stores excess calories as fat. These fat stores build over time resulting in a person becoming overweight.

Weight gain is affected by:

  • Heredity Activity level
  • Eating habits
  • Hormonal imbalance (rare)

Common Causes of Weight Gain

  • Participating in activities that require little physical movement such as excess TV, computer, and video game use
  • Eating “junk” food frequently
  • Constant snacking
  • Too little exercise
  • Eating out frequently
  • Drinking too much soda and fruit juice
  • Eating large portions
  • Breakfast skipping

How can my physician help me to lose weight?

If your pediatrician is concerned about your weight he or she with the assistance of other health care providers may want to:

  • Review your medical history and health of family members.
  • Perform a complete physical exam, which may include some blood tests.
  • Review your daily diet to determine caloric and fat intake.
  • Review how physically fit you are.
  • Provide education on healthy eating and the importance of daily physical activity.
  • Monitor your weight periodically.

The Goal

Our goal is to help you to be healthy. Increasing physical activity and improving the nature of your eating habits may help you to reach this goal. Support from your doctor, family, and friends along with a desire to improve your health, are important to your success.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 08/2011