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Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child's health or well-being. As methods to determine body fat directly are difficult, the diagnosis of obesity is often based on BMI. Due to the rising prevalence of obesity in children and its many adverse health effects it is being recognized as a serious public health concern. The term overweight rather than obese is often used when discussing childhood obesity, especially in open discussion, as it is less stigmatizing. Body mass index (BMI) is acceptable for determining obesity for children two years of age and older. It is determined by the ratio of weight to height. The normal range for BMI in children vary with age and sex. While a BMI above the 85th percentile is defined as overweight, a BMI greater than or equal to the 95th percentile is defined as obesity by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has published tables for determining this in children. The US Preventive Service Task Force reported that not all children with a high BMI need to lose weight though. High BMI can identify a possible weight problem, but does not differentiate between fat or lean tissue. Additionally, BMI may mistakenly rule out some children who do have excess adipose tissue. It is therefore beneficial to supplement the reliability of a BMI diagnosis with additional screening tools such as adipose tissue or skin fold measurements. The first problems to occur in obese children are usually emotional or psychological. Obese children often experience bullying by their peers. Some are harassed or discriminated against by their own family. Stereotypes abound and may lead to low self-esteem and depression. Childhood obesity however can also lead to life-threatening conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep problems, cancer, and other disorders. Some of the other disorders would include liver disease, early puberty or menarche, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, skin infections, and asthma and other respiratory problems. The early physical effects of obesity in adolescence include, almost all of the child's organs being affected, gallstones, hepatitis, sleep apnoea and increased intracranial pressure. Overweight children are also more likely to grow up to be overweight adults. Obesity during adolescence has been found to increase mortality rates during adulthood. A 2008 study has found that children who are obese have carotid arteries which have prematurely aged by as much as thirty years as well as abnormal levels of cholesterol.

[ "Body mass index", "Overweight", "Parental obesity", "Generalized obesity", "Childhood Overweight", "Percentage overweight", "child obesity" ]
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