Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat, but it shouldn’t be thought of as a cosmetic concern. Obesity can increase your risk of various diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Obesity is clinically defined by the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health as a male with more than 25% body fat and a female with more than 35% body fat. Obesity is also defined by some as having a BMI of 30 or greater.
For youth specifically, obesity is defined by a BMI at or above the 95th percentile (based on growth charts) for children of the same age and sex. Others define pediatric obesity as a youth who has a body weight that is at least 20% higher than the healthy weight average for a child or adolescent of the same height and gender.
Childhood obesity is considered an especially serious medical condition, affecting both children and adolescents. Most research shows that childhood obesity can lead children to experience health problems that were once mainly experienced by adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The World Health Organization notes that being overweight or obese is the fifth leading risk for global deaths.
When it comes to obesity being a disease, people are split. Some call childhood obesity an actual “disease” while others (many kids in fact) feel it should be categorized as an addiction issue.