Obesity is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. Data from NHANES surveys (1976–1980 and 2003–2006) show that the prevalence of obesity has increased: for children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 12.4%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 17.0%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.6%.1, 46
Obese children and adolescents are at risk for health problems during their youth and as adults. For example, during their youth, obese children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes) than are other children and adolescents.2
Obese children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults.3, 4 For example, one study found that approximately 80% of children who were overweight at aged 10–15 years were obese adults at age 25 years.3 Another study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children.5 The latter study also found that if overweight begins before 8 years of age, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.
This Web site provides information about childhood overweight and obesity, including how overweight and obesity are defined for children, the prevalence of obesity, the factors associated with obesity, and the related health consequences.
Tips for Parents – Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Defining Childhood Overweight and Obesity
- Obesity Prevalence
- Contributing Factors
What can you do as a parent or guardian to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity? We have some ideas in our Healthy Weight section.