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Children are classified as overweight or "at risk" with a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile. Children with a BMI over the 95th percentile are considered obese (Moskdad AH; 1999, 2001).
For ages 2 to 7 years of age, weight loss is only recommended for those with a BMI above the 95th percentile with certain medical complications such as hypertension, dyslipidemias, and insulin resistance. In contrast, weight maintenance is recommended with a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentile or with a BMI above the 95th percentile with no medical complications.
For children 7 years and over, weight maintenance is recommended for those with a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentile and no medical complications. Weight loss is recommended for those with medical complications or children with a BMI above the 95th percentile.
Children with acute complications such as pseudotumer cerebri, sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, or orthopedic problems, should be referred to a pediatric obesity center. Children younger than 2 years of age should also be referred to a pediatric obesity center.
Barlow SE, Dietz, WH, (1998). Obesity evaluation and treatment: expert committee recommendation, Pediatrics, 103, 3.