College of American Pathologists
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  Childhood Obesity


Posted May 6, 2009


The College of American Pathologists recognizes that obesity in children is a major health problem for our society. Childhood obesity is a chronic disease and must be approached in the broadest context of public education about its prevalence, the need for prevention, and the consequences of not addressing the issue effectively. Early identification and intervention through appropriate testing, patient and family education, and treatment are essential.

Messages for the Public

  • Childhood obesity is a serious health problem.
  • Childhood obesity rates are rising. Nearly half of the children in the United States will be over their ideal body weight by the year 2010.
  • The number of children between the ages of 6 and 11 years who are obese has nearly doubled in the past 20 years.
  • Obese children are at risk for developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and high cholesterol.
  • Many obese children have emotional problems such as depression.
  • An obese child has a greatly increased chance of being obese as an adult.
  • Elevated cholesterol levels can create disease even very early in life.
  • Early recognition of excessive weight can be detected in the routine health care setting.
  • Obese children should reduce their weight, exercise regularly, and avoid excess calorie intake.