Testing & Diagnosis for Childhood Obesity in Children

How is obesity in children diagnosed? 

To determine if a child is obese, a doctor will use the child's body mass index (BMI) to obtain a percentile ranking. BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height and it indicates the amount of body fat your child has.

BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height and indicates the amount of body fat your child has. If your child’s BMI falls at or above the 95th percentile, he is considered obese. In this case, your child’s doctor might do a full physical exam and screen for the following:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • abnormal blood lipids (high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and low levels of good, HDL cholesterol)
  • fatty liver
  • menstrual problems in girls
  • psychological problems

Your child is considered overweight and at risk for obesity if his BMI falls between the 85th and 95th percentiles. In this case, your doctor might screen for the following:

  • family history of cardiovascular disease, elevated total cholesterol, diabetes, parental obesity
  • large increases in BMI assessments from year to year
  • person concerns about weight, (emotional or psychological)
  • concerns related to weight and perception of self as overweight
  • blood pressure