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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


My son is 6 years 5 months old. He is 51 inches tall and weighs 76 pounds. He looks really big for his age.I am worried that he is obese.How do I check?
    
It is very important to distinguish between a child who is "overweight" and a child who is "overfat!" Large framed individuals with significant muscle development may be "big" for their age, but not obese.

More specific measurements of body fat such as determination of skinfold thickness and waist to hip ratio can be very useful in distinguishing overweight from overfat. These can be done by your physician.

Obesity in childhood is defined as a weight percentile which is more than 20% above the height percentile. Your son's weight percentile is a little more than 15% above the height percentile.

It is true that there is a strong tendency for childrens' weight patterns to "track" into adulthood, and this likelihood increases as the child gets older. About 50% of obese school age children become obese adults, while 80% of obese teens are overweight when older. Further, you are correct to be concerned about your son's body composition as it is an important factor for his long term health. We would suggest continuing to monitor his growth rate (weight and height) on a bi-yearly basis, encourage aeorbic exercise, limit television and video games , and watch those snacks!

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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