The prevalence of overweight in US children and adolescents has reached
alarming levels. The proportion of children and adolescents who are overweight,
defined as a body mass index exceeding the 95th percentile for age and sex
based on norms from the 1960s, has tripled in the past 3 decades.1 This dramatic increase in overweight has not been
confined to US children and adolescents; pediatric overweight is also increasing
in other countries.2- 4 Greater
body weight has been found to predispose children and adolescents to many
of the medical complications of obesity found in adults, such as hypertension,5 dyslipidemia,6 impaired
glucose homeostasis,7,8 steatohepatitis,9 sleep apnea,10 and
intracranial hypertension,11 and to problems
unique to childhood and adolescence, including accelerated pubertal12 and skeletal13 development
and orthopedic disorders, such as slipped capital femoral epiphysis.14
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