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Editorial |

Tackling Childhood Overweight and Obesity:  Thresholds and Beyond

Joyce M. Lee, MD, MPH; Eduardo Villamor, MD, MPH, DrPH
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(1):87-88. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.426.
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A large number of families seek assistance from their pediatric provider for managing their child's overweight/obese status. As they embark on weight management strategies, families often ask: “How much weight should my child lose?” Because the answer to this question depends on a child's age, sex, and stage of development, physicians may be reluctant to provide a number. However, offering a weight loss goal to families would likely be helpful for setting overall weight loss goals and for monitoring progress with weight management strategies.

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Figure. The percentage of the US pediatric population aged 7 to 18 years at body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) percentiles within the overweight/obese range. The white bars represent percentages based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from 1971 to 1975, before the obesity epidemic in the United States, and the black bars represent percentages based on the most recent NHANES data from 2009 to 2010.4 The largest increases have occurred at the extremes of the BMI percentile range (95th to 99th percentiles). The percentages are weighted percentages that account for the complex survey design of the NHANES.

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