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Understanding Excess Weight and Obesity

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Understanding Excess Weight and Obesity



Am I Overweight?

Many argue that we are a generation of excess with childhood obesity at record levels and lifestyle diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and Cholesterol on the increase. As a society, it could be argued that we are time poor and thus fast food companies are cashing in by offering fast food options as a convenient alternative to families and children. As a result, this is leading to the hype that kids are heavier and fatter than ever before.


Being overweight as a child or teenager is defined by the medical profession as having more body fat than is optimally healthy. This doesn’t mean that you are overweight because you want to lose 5 kilograms so you can fit into a size 8 beach costume.

How Does the Medical Field Define Overweight?


A child’s weight is measured by a process called Body Mass Index (BMI). This process uses a child’s height and weight measurements to gauge how much body fat they should be carrying. There are programs and applications which can be used online to measure and gauge a child’s BMI score. One free application that can be downloaded from Apple, Google, Windows and Blackberry is Smash! Fit for Kids which will calculate your BMI score and then plot it onto a graph for you.

It is important to note that a child’s BMI scores changes with age. As a child’s body grows and develops especially as they pass through puberty, the BMI score also changes. There are also different charts for girls and guys which can be accessed by downloading the Smash! Fit for Kids app.

When a child’s BMI score is plotted on the BMI chart, the doctor can see how you compare with teens the same age and gender as you. Based on where your number plots on the chart, the doctor will decide if your BMI is in the underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese range.

There's a big range of normal on the chart: Anyone who falls between the 5th percentile and the 85th percentile is a healthy weight. If someone is at or above the 85th percentile line on the chart (but less than the 95th percentile), doctors consider that person overweight. A BMI measurement over the 95th percentile line on the chart puts someone in the obese range.

Why is being overweight such a problem?


Being overweight carries health risks for children including diabetes, depression and social issues like being bullied. If you believe that your BMI is above the normal range then it is important that you speak to your parents as you may need assistance from a health person like a Doctor, Dietician or Fitness Professional. Studies are now linking a greater likelihood of being overweight in your adult years if you are overweight as a teenager.

It is also important that you don’t take drastic measures to fix your weight issues if you believe that you are overweight, by going on fad diets or exercising excessively. Studies are constantly demonstrating that fad diets don’t work and in some cases actually encourages greater weight gain. Exercising excessively especially if you have never done physical activity before, can lead to injury.

The key in managing your weight is through a balance approach by eating the right foods and engaging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Working with a Dietician or Fitness Professional can help with the amounts of food you should be eating and the types of food that will help you manage your weight. They can also provide a program for you to follow that will help you burn the necessary calories to keep your weight under control.

Read 3209 times Last modified on Saturday, 17 October 2015 07:09

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