New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Program | Glossary of Weight-Related Terms

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

  Click the hyperlinked terms for an in-depth entry.

  • acanthosis nigricans - Acanthosis nigricans is a dark, velvety patch that can develop on the skin of the neck, underarms or abdomen of overweight children. It is a sign that insulin levels in the blood are too high, indicating that a child (or adult) is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Parents often mistake the condition for dirt and try to scrub it away. Fortunately, the condition can be reversed with a healthy diet and weight loss.
  • anxiety
  • binge eating disorder
  • body image - Overweight children and teens may experience negative body image, lower self-esteem and difficulties with relationships with parents and peers. They may compare themselves to peers who seem to eat whatever they want and stay thin, and even become angry that this is the case. If you feel weight is affecting your child’s body image and self-esteem, it can be helpful to seek mental health services.
  • body mass index
  • bulimia nervosa
  • bullying
  • delayed puberty and sexual development
  • depression (major depression and dysthymia)
  • diabetes mellitus (diabetes 1)
  • digestion and liver problems
  • emotional eating - Emotional eating refers to eating for reasons that have to do more with feelings than with actual physical hunger. While the feelings are often negative, such as sadness, boredom or stress, emotional eating can also take place around happy events such as holidays or gatherings with friends.

    Regardless of what triggers it, emotional eating is often mindless; that is, the emotional eater may not be fully aware of how much she is eating at a given time. Practicing skills to increase awareness about emotional eating can help break the habit.
  • excessive hair growth hirsutism
  • fatty liver - Fatty liver is a condition associated with excess weight in which fat accumulates in the liver. There are typically no signs or symptoms, and the condition is diagnosed by a blood test. Over time, fatty liver can lead to inflammation and scarring, and to a more serious form of the condition known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
  • gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Bardet BiedlBardet Biedl is a complex genetic condition that may include birth defects, short stature and vision problems. Obesity, usually beginning in early childhood, is one feature. People with Bardet-Biedl syndrome typically develop weight-related complications such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.  
  • Prader-Willi syndrome - Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by insatiable hunger and extreme food-seeking behaviors. Many people with the disorder often gain weight rapidly, beginning around age 2, and commonly develop weight-related complications. Other symptoms include learning and behavior problems, sleep disorders and short stature.
  • gynecomastia
  • healthful diets
  • healthful eating for teens
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • hypoglycemia
  • hypothyroidism
  • insulin resistance: Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body fails to respond properly to insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas that helps the body use sugar (glucose) for energy. As a result, people need more insulin to move glucose into the cells. Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
  • lipids (blood fats, LDL cholesterolHDL cholesterol & triglycerides)
  • nutrition for school-aged children

  • obesity
  • physical activity
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • precocious puberty
  • premature adrenarche
  • sleep apnea
  • sleep habits
  • slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)
  • television and children
  • toddler nutrition
  • toddlers: play
  • tonsillectomy & adenoidectomy
  • weight management
Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337