Too much body fat is the main symptom of obesity. But it’s hard to directly measure body fat. A guideline called the body mass index (BMI) is used to estimate it. The BMI uses a child’s weight and height to come up with a result. The result is then compared with standards for children of the same gender between the ages of 2 and 20.
A child who is overweight has a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile for age and gender. They are obese if the BMI is greater than the 95th percentile for age and gender.
There are also symptoms that may suggest a child is suffering from obesity. The common ones include:
- Snoring (a symptom of possible sleep apnea)
- Excessive thirst (a symptom of diabetes)
- Joint pain or bowed legs (possible Blount’s disease or SCFE)
- Shortness of breath, or exercise intolerance
Children and adolescents who are at an unhealthy weight often experience significant social pressure, stress and difficulties accomplishing developmental tasks. Psychological disturbances are also very common. The symptoms of obesity may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child’s doctor for a diagnosis.