Defining obesity in children should be based on health issues, not just BMI
Physicians are told to gauge the severity of a child's problem with obesity using the body mass index (BMI) that measures weight against height. But that doesn't work well to identify health issues, especially those of mental health, in children with obesity seeking care, says a study led by McMaster University.
Other medical issues, including high blood pressure, prediabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are also common, and are only slightly more frequent in those with the most severe obesity compared to those with less severe obesity, according to the study.
The details of the study called the Canadian Pediatric Weight Management Registry (CANPWR) were published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. This study found two thirds of children entering weight management programs across Canada have severe obesity based on their BMI.
"We found that social and mechanical health issues were more common in those with the highest body mass index. However, mental health issues, for example, are consistent across the BMI groups," said Katherine Morrison, principal investigator of the CANPWR study, and professor of the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster.
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