Obesity in Children

Every child is unique in the way they grow and develop. As a parent, you may find yourself struggling to help your child develop healthier lifestyle habits, eat nutritious meals and ensure healthy weight gain.

As children age their habits solidify and become much more difficult to change.

An environment that helps develop and encourage healthy habits include adequate time for physical activity, providing a loving and supportive emotional system and teaching them the benefits of choosing nutritious meals.

Kids need about 60 minutes of physical activity each day. It does not have to happen all at once. Several short periods of activity during the day are just as good.

If you notice your child’s weight gain and are concerned, seek help.

A genetic, hormonal or epi-genetic (environmental factors that affect genetic change) factor may be playing a role in your child’s weight gain.

Obesity puts children at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, bone and joint problems and premature death.
Your child could have a disorder known as the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS)? It’s a rare disorder that makes you love to devour food. It is the most common genetic causes of obesity although it affects less than 0.5 percent of the population, with about one person in every 12,000 – 15,000 people who will be diagnosed.

This life-threatening disorder is a result of an imbalance of hormones, known as leptin and ghrelin, and causes children to have increased appetites. Observable symptoms such as having abnormally large appetites and overeating tendencies are the signs to learn about the different treatments available to help your child today.
Obesity and being overweight in children should not be taken lightly. It puts children at risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, behavioural problems, depression and premature death.

Children who are overweight are more likely to have weight management issues as adults.

Obesity also causes children to be socially stigmatised, bullied and develop low self-esteem
Tips to encourage healthy habits
  • Serving more fruits and vegetables
  • Buying fewer soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie snack foods
  • Making sure your child eats breakfast every day
  • Eating fast food less often
  • Eating smaller portions of food
  • Not using food as a reward

What is body mass index?

BMI = weight (kg) / height (m)≤
BMI is a calculation that uses height and weight to estimate how much body fat someone has. Doctors use it to determine how appropriate a child's weight is for a certain height and age.

Definition Who* Criteria Asia Criteria
Underweight <18.5 <18.5
Normal 18.5 – 24.9 18.5 – 23.9
Overweight 25.0 – 29.9 24.0 – 26.9
Mild Obesity 30.0 – 34.9 27.0 – 29.9
Moderate Obesity 35.0 – 39.9 30.0 – 34.9
Severe Obesity >40.0 >35.0
Super Obesity >50.0 >47.5
“Obesity puts children at risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, fatty liver disease, depression and even, premature death.”
Dato' Dr. Nik Ritza Kosai, Consultant General Surgeon (Gastrointestinal /Bariatric Surgeon)