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Children and Weight

Over the past two decades, childhood obesity has become a national health issue. Rates of overweight in children have increased significantly. In the state of North Carolina, nearly 50% of children between the ages of 12 and 18 years old are overweight or obese.

Overweight in children is different than in adults. There are no clear numbers, weights, or guidelines, as children are all different shapes and sizes. The best way to determine if your child is overweight is to calculate their body mass index (BMI) and compare that number on a growth chart. An easy way to do this is by using the BMI calculator. Use this link to help calculate your child’s BMI: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi/Calculator.aspx. If you are unsure or have questions, talk to your child’s doctor.

Health consequences of having excess weight during childhood include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, joint problems, liver problems, disrupted sleep, and emotional problems. Carrying these health problems into adulthood is even more likely, as one study showed that without treatment, 80% of overweight children became obese adults.

There is no magic pill or easy fix that will solve this problem. Our genetics, environment, and behaviors all play a role in weight management. Research has shown that families who make efforts to be active, eat healthy, and support each other can permanently improve their health and weight. 

Commonly Asked Questions about Children and Weight 

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