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Commonly Asked Questions

What is obesity?
Obesity is defined as a person (child or adult) being 20% or more heavier than expected for age and body size.

Does obesity harm the heart?
If the child is very overweight for a long time the extra work that the heart has to do can harm the heart. Frequently, obese children have high blood pressure. The extra weight is also hard on the lungs, muscles and joints of the body. In addition, extra weight can make a child feel bad about himself or herself.

Is being overweight inherited?
In some cases the answer is yes, in the sense that overweight children are usually in families where one or both parents are overweight. Eating and exercise habits are learned. Obesity is rarely caused by "gland" problems, especially if the child is growing in height as expected.

How do I get my child to lose weight?
This is a hard thing to help a child to do. Eating right and exercising more are always the way to start. Please see the section on nutrition for more details. Ask your child's doctor if there are classes for you and your child, or if the problem is severe enough that there may be a need for hospitalization.