Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1,2
Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4
Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6