What is obesity?

Obesity can be defined as increased fat stores. Being obese during childhood increases the likelihood that a person will be obese as an adult, as well as increase the risk of obesity-related diseases.

Obesity can be diagnosed using the body mass index (BMI) as a measure of body fatness. BMI is calculated using a person’s weight in kilograms divided by his/her height in meters squared (kg/m2). In adults, obesity is defined has having a BMI that is greater than or equal to 30 or in the 95th percentile or above.

During childhood and adolescence, BMI varies with age and gender and the adult definitions based on BMI cannot always be used accurately in children. Body mass index (BMI) predicts the risk for present or future medical complications of obesity.


At CHOP, children who are overweight may be evaluated by the Healthy Weight Program, in cooperation with the Division of Gastroenterology (GI), Hepatology and Nutrition.

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