Obesity In Children : Definition & Causes


Last Updated : 12/25/2010
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Dr Ira Shah
Obesity is defined as body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 95th percentile for age and sex with/without any complications. [BMI is expressed as body weight in kilograms/square of height in meters (kg/m2)].

Causes of obesity
Though, the list of endogenous obesity is vast, the

primary cause of obesity in children

is exogenous either due to overeating, inadequate exercise or eating disorder.


endogenous causes of obesity

- Genetic disorders: Lawrence Moon Biedl syndrome< and Cohen's syndrome. They present with dysmorphic features, developmental delay and sometimes retinal changes and deafness in addition to obesity.

Children with Prader Willi syndrome have growth failure and have almond shape eyes. Males have undescended testes.


Endocrine disorders

Hypothyroidism - Presents with poor linear growth, mental subnormality, bradycardia, and constipation with/without a goiter.
Cushing's syndrome - It also presents with poor linear growth, hirsuitism, truncal obesity and violaceous striae.

The exogenous causes of obesity usually cause the child to be tall, though ultimately the adult height may be less. All the endogenous causes of obesity are associated with delayed bone age. However, exogenous obesity may cause advanced bone age.

Contributor Information and Disclosures Dr Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B. J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India

First Created : 2/23/2001
Last Updated : 12/25/2010
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Last Updated : 12/25/2010
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