What is Childhood Obesity

According to the World Health Organization, childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century (1).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined childhood obesity as adolescents with a body mass index (BMI) at t or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex (2). Obesity can harm nearly every system in a child’s body- heart and lungs, muscles and bones, kidneys, and digestive tract, as well as the hormones that control blood sugar and puberty- and can also take a heavy social and emotional toll (3).

Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the U.S. over the past 30 years and the United States has some of the highest obesity rates in the world.


  1. World Health Organization. Global strategy on diet, physical activity, and health: childhood overweight and obesity. Accessed February 19, 2020.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Defining Childhood Obesity. Accessed February 19, 2020.

  3. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-trends/global-obesity-trends-in-children/