Obesity occurs when a child is significantly over the ideal weight for her height. Like adults, children become obese when they eat more calories than they use. Obesity in children is determined by using a body mass index (BMI) percentile. BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height.
Obesity can increase a child’s risk for serious and chronic medical problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, orthopedic problems and liver disease.
Researchers continue to search for ways to treat obesity, but taking preventive measures has proven to be the best method so far. This means eating a healthy diet based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and lean protein. It is also important to maintain an active lifestyle by getting at least an hour of physical activity a day.
How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches obesity
Boston Children’s has five hospital-based programs to help children and their families manage their weight.