Since 1980, the prevalence of obesity among youth ages 12-19 years has more than tripled from 5% to 16%, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In children and adolescents, "obesity" is defined as a BMI (body mass index) greater than the 95th percentile for BMI for age. Children and adolescents with a BMI greater than or equal to 85th but less than the 95th percentile are considered "overweight."
Obesity has become the most common medical condition of children. Obesity in young people has been associated with increased serum lipids, decreased hepatic function (non-alcoholic steatorrheic hepatitis), increased blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance and risk for diabetes mellitus type 2, sleep apnea with resultant school problems, slipped capital femoral epiphyses, Blount disease (tibia vara), and psychosocial consequences including stigmatization and victimization from bullying. There is increasing consideration of identifying the metabolic syndrome, the clustering of abdominal obesity with hypertension, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia, in adolescents.
Obstetrician-gynecologists will be concerned with obesity in young women in evaluation of menstrual disturbances, especially when considering polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), in selection and follow-up of hormonal contraceptives, and in prenatal care. The ACOG Committee on Adolescent Health Care has recommended that all adolescents be screened annually by calculating BMI from height and weight and asking about eating patterns. A BMI table reproduced from the AMA Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services is included in the in the ACOG Tool Kit for Teen Care
The following resources are available from ACOG:
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.Obesity in Adolescents. In: Guidelines for Adolescent Health Care. Washington, DC:ACOG; 2011.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Fact sheet: media and body image. In: Tool kit for teen care. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2009.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Fact sheet: physical activity. In: Tool kit for teen care. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2009.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Fact sheet: weight management. In: Tool kit for teen care. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2009.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Primary and preventive health care for female adolescents. In: Tool kit for teen care. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2009.
The resources listed below are for information purposes only. Referral to these sources and sites does not imply the endorsement of ACOG. Further, ACOG does not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised or available from these organizations or on these web sites. These lists are not meant to be comprehensive. The exclusion of a source or site does not reflect the quality of that source or site. Please note that sites and URLs are subject to change without notice.
REFERENCES FOR PROFESSIONALS
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BOOKS - Books listed in this resource guide often may be found in university, secondary school, and/or public libraries along with similar books on this topic.
Burniat W, Cole TJ, Lissau I, Poskitt EM, editors. Child and adolescent obesity: causes and consequences, prevention and management. New York (NY): Cambridge University Press; 2002.
Fibkins WL. Teen obesity: how schools can be the number one solution to the problem. Lanham (MD): Rowman & Littlefield Education; 2006.
Hassink SG. Pediatric obesity: prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies for primary care. Elk Grove Village (IL): American Academy of Pediatrics; 2007.
Institute of Medicine (US). Preventing childhood obesity: health in the balance. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2005.
Berg FM. Underage and overweight: America’s childhood obesity crisis--what every family needs to know. New York (NY): Hatherleigh Press; 2004.
Hassink SG, editor. A parent’s guide to childhood obesity: a road map to health. Elk Grove Village (IL): American Academy of Pediatrics; 2006.
Rimm SB, Rimm E. Rescuing the emotional lives of overweight children: what our kids go through--and how we can help. Emmaus (PA): Rodale; 2004.
Tartamella L, Herscher E, Woolston C. Generation extra large: rescuing our children from the epidemic of obesity. New York (NY): Basic Books; 2004.
Organizations/Websites (Many of these have a broad variety of patient/family educational materials about obesity, nutrition, diet, and exercise.)
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
American Dietetic Association
American Heart Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Bam! Body and Mind
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Youth
Center for Young Women’s Health
National Agriculture Library: Nutrition.gov
National Association for Health and Fitness
National Child Obesity Foundation
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
NHLBI Health Information Center
The Obesity Society (formerly American Obesity Association)
United States Department of Agriculture: MyPyramid.gov