Obesity, a level of body fat that is harmful, is a common health condition in adolescence and a major public health problem. Obesity rates tripled for U.S. teens during the period from 1963 to 2004. Obesity is defined as “at or above the gender- and age-specific 95th percentile Body Mass Index (BMI) cutoff points.” BMI is calculated from an individual's weight and height (weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared multiplied by 703). It is considered a reliable indicator of body fatness for most adolescents. The amount of body fat changes during growth and development and differs between male and female adolescents. Values of BMI versus age are plotted on growth charts developed by the Centers for Disease Control to obtain a percentile ...

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