How is obesity defined in childhood?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,329
    Health Expert William McCarthy explains how obesity is defined in childhood.

    William McCarthy

    Dr. William McCarthy is the Medical Director at the NOVA ABC Weight Loss Clinic

    Dr. McCarthy has been in private medical practice in the Northern Virginia area since 1976.  He received a BS (Magna cum laude) at Xavier University in Cincinnati, his M.D. degree at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C, and served his internship and residency in Family Practice at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. McCarthy is board certified in bariatric medicine, which is the medical specialty of weight  disorders.  At this time, there are only approximatly 300 board certified bariatricians in the United States.

     He has served as the Chief of Staff and board member of Potomac Hospital here in Woodbridge.  He founded the nationally recognized Continuing Medical Education program at Potomac Hospital and served as it director for over twenty years.  He has been repeatedly voted by his peers as one of the top physicians in the D.C area in the Washington Consumer Checkbook.  Dr. McCarthy has also served as a board member of the Northern Virginia Foundation for Health and Medical Care and on the board of Physician’s Care insurance.  He was the team physician for the Prince William professional baseball team for many years, chosen by the Pirates, Yankees, Cardinals, and White Sox.   Dr. McCarthy has an outstanding reputation as a physician and educator, known not only for his broad knowledge of medicine, but also as a compassionate and caring physician.  After years of treating the health consequences that were brought on by excess weight, Dr. McCarthy decided to shift the focus of his care to the treatment and prevention of the actual cause of these medical problems.  Dr. McCarthy has attended numerous conferences, intensively studied the most current medical literature, and has spent time working with well known, experienced bariatricians in order to enhance his knowledge in the science of weight loss, metabolism, nutrition, exercise, and behavioral aspects of weight control.  He now dedicates his experience and knowledge to those who lives and health are adversely affected by their excess weight.

    Host: How is obesity and overweight defined in childhood and adolescence?

    Dr. William McCarthy: We find obesity and overweight in childhood and adolescence pretty much as we do in adults, we use the BMI or Body Mass Index. In adults we just use the Body Mass Index in relationship to height and weight. In children we add two other factors, we add age and gender and what we do, we defined obesity as Body Mass Index adjusted for age as above the 95% and we defined overweight between the 85% and 95%.

    So, what we have for example, lets say an adult would have BMI of 23, that adult would be considered perfectly normal weight. However if we have a young girl, BMI with BMI of 23 perhaps 10 years old, she would be a frankly obese. Now, we would never use the terms obesity in reference to children, till this past July and we have started to realize it. It is not about self-esteem, we would tell back on using this term for many years, but it has become more important to really face the issue and to start to calling it, as it is.