Frequently Asked Questions

healthy child hula hoop

How do you define overweight and obesity?

Overweight and obesity are not just a matter of a few extra pounds. They are clinically defined health conditions deserving evidence-based, effective treatment. As defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity is recognized when a child’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex.

Our program focuses on children and adolescents ages four to 18 whose BMI is equal to or greater than the 95th percentile. We also treat children and teens considered overweight –   those whose BMI is between the 85th and 95th percentile – if they have weight-related medical conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or pre-diabetes.

Talk to your child’s physician about your child’s BMI percentile. You can also visit this link at the CDC website to calculate your child’s BMI: www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/bmi/calculator

What causes obesity?
When more calories are taken in than the body can use, the unused calories are stored as fat. When this occurs repeatedly over time, obesity can develop. Many factors come into play: overeating and a poor diet, lack of exercise, medical issues such as endocrine or neurological problems, medications such as steroids and certain psychiatric drugs, depression or emotional problems, family and social stressors, or a family history of obesity.

Our culture plays a role, too. The prevalence of fast food, enlarged portions and inactive forms of entertainment (television, computers, cell phones) contributes to the rise in obesity across America.

What are the health consequences of obesity in kids and teenagers?
The consequences of pediatric obesity can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Joint pain
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stigmatization
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 

When a child diagnosed with obesity as a chronic condition grows up to become an adult with obesity, the risk of related health problems only escalates. The health risks for adults with obesity include all of the conditions listed above, plus heart disease, stroke, several types of cancer, infertility, osteoarthritis and other issues.