In children, obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) that is at or above the 95th percentile for their gender, age and height. Obesity often correlates with other conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.
Obesity in children often occurs due to genetics, lack of physical activity, poor eating habits or a combination of all three. Obesity in children may lead to serious health disorders. Obese children often become obese adults, putting them at risk for developing several chronic health conditions. Your child’s doctor can help you determine if your child is overweight or obese and can offer education about lifestyle changes to combat the condition.
A child can be obese without having metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of high-risk factors that can occur in adults and children. These risk factors are known to lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes in adults. When these risk factors are present in children, it can be a sign that the child may develop serious health conditions as he or she gets older.
An obese child is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if a physical examination and blood tests show the child to have some or all of the following conditions:
Though the conditions associated with metabolic syndrome are not known to be associated with heart disease in children, both obesity and metabolic syndrome can lead to heart disease and other serious health conditions later in life such as:
Treatment for obesity and metabolic syndrome focuses on chronic disease prevention and may include:
Visit the links below to learn more about obesity and metabolic syndrome in children and find support groups and services.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This website from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides facts about childhood obesity.
The American Heart Association provides general information about metabolic syndrome for patients of all ages. Learn more about risk factors and prevention.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
Sort through 6 facilities offering Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome care by entering your city or zip below.