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Childhood overweight and obesity defined by BMI
Thursday, November 04, 2004 6:15 am Email this article
In 2000, BMI Cut off points for overweight and obesity for children aged 2- to 18-years-old have been defined for the first time. These cutoff points are linked to the adult BMI's of 25 and 30. Childhood overweight and obesity previously defined as 85th and 95th percentile
Previously, overweight and obesity was defined in children as the 85th and 95th percentile for a given age and sex, however these numbers were criticized for being arbitrary.
Overweight among 18-year-olds: 18% of males, 17% of females; obesity: 3% of males, 4% of females
Using these new definitions the prevalence of overweight in the U.S. at the age of eighteen-years-old is 18.1 percent of males and 16.5 percent of females, while obesity occurs in 3.3 percent of males and 4 percent of females.
Overweight and obesity rates roughly the same among 2-18 year-olds
The prevalence in children ages two to eighteen is thought to be roughly the same.
The tables were generated from available data following a proposal at a meeting of the International Obesity Task Force in 1997.
Tables generated from 6 large national studies
Data used to generate these tables were obtained from six large nationally representative cross sectional growth studies from Brazil, Great Britain, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United States.
Tables generated from 97,000 males, 94,000 females
The surveys included 97,876 males and 94,851 females from birth to 25 years of age.
Percent bodyfat prefered, but impractical
The paper noted that the ideal definition of overweight and obesity are based on percent body fat, however it is impractical to use for large population studies.
Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey. Bmj, 2000 May 6; 320 (7244): 1240-3.
Articles on the same subject can be found here:
On Mar 01, 2012 at 10:08 am Aldo Villa wrote:
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I have always been thinking that overweight and obesity should be described in terms of percentage of body fat. But what would then be the percentages of body fat that would define being overweight, or obese? I think that there could be just 2 criteria that could be adopted. Either a measure of statistical deviation from a central tendency measure of the weight distribution of the group that the person belongs to, could be adopted. Or it would also be possible to set cutoff points derived from logistic (or else) regressions estimating the risk of a certain disease. However, also in the latter case there would be two arbitrary choices to make. First, risk usually rises as a continuous function of the values of the independent variable considered (PBF in our case)and not as a step one. So the problem would be to define what is the amount of increased risk that we deem unacceptable. Then, PBF can be a (and in fact seems to be) a risk for more than one disease and this would introduce further complications, because research could demonstrate that a certain amount of extra PBF is a risk factor just for one disease, but some more extra PBF triggers an increased risk for a further disease, and so and so forth,... Therefore, which disease should be chosen and what amount of increased risk should be chosen to decide that below the cutting point the PBF is normal and above it isn't?
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