Overweight and obesity in children. A brief review

Fiorenzo Moscatelli, Antonietta Messina, Marcellino Monda, Giovanni Messina, Vincenzo Monda


Overweight and obesity are conditions of excessive body fat accumulation. In clinical practice, child and adolescent overweight and obesity are commonly identified by age- and gender-specific body mass index (BMI) percentiles, BMI standard deviation scores, and waist circumference (WC) percentiles relative to a reference population. A recent analysis of population data of children aged five to 19 years estimated that in 2016 obesity was identified in 50 million girls and 74 million boys worldwide. In the USA in 2014, the prevalence of child and adolescent obesity (BMI > 95th centile) was 9.4% (two to five years), 17.4% (six to 11 years), and 20.6% (12 to 19 years). In Europe, obesity prevalence was on average 4.0% in adolescents, with vast differences between countries. Childhood obesity prevalence is increasing in middle- and low-income countries, for example, up to 40% of children in Mexico were living with obesity or overweight, 32% in Lebanon and 28% in Argentina. Health problems are common in children and adolescents with obesity. These include cardiovascular conditions (e.g. hyperlipidaemia, hypertension), endocrinologic conditions (e.g. Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome), gastrointestinal conditions (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), respiratory conditions (e.g. obstructive sleep apnoea), musculoskeletal disorders, (e.g. slipped capital femoral epiphysis) and psychosocial disorders (e.g. depression, anxiety.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.32043/gsd.v4i1.160


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