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Obesity in Children

  • By: Jessica S. Benas, Elizabeth C. Scafidi & Michael A. Friedman
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States because of its association with detrimental social and physical outcomes and its rising prevalence in recent years. Although several proposed methods for determining childhood obesity exist, the most widely used is to define childhood obesity as equal to or above the 95th percentile on the body mass index (BMI). Epidemiological studies employing the BMI method suggest that approximately 11% to 15% of children in the United States are obese. Estimates suggest that the prevalence of childhood obesity has risen by 4% over the previous decade (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2004). Although obesity rates have increased for both sexes and all racial–ethnic groups studied, it appears that rates of obesity may be higher among ...

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