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10 Terms to Know About Children and Obesity

Updated June 09, 2015.

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See's Medical Review Board.

News stories about children and obesity abound, and they contain terms that may be unfamiliar to most parents. Get to know these key words as a way to better understand the facts about children and obesity.

Body-Mass Index (BMI)

As an indicator of weight relative to height, body mass index may helpdiagnose obesity or overweight.More »


Calories measure the amount of energy we get from food and burn throughphysical activity and metabolic processes such as breathing. ?Knowing how many calories your child needs and takes in each day can help you adjust intake accordingly.More »


Fats are often considered unhealthy, but they are essential to our bodies. They are made up of a combination of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.More »

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body can't process glucose well because cells are not using insulin effectively. Eventually, this condition can lead to Type 2 diabetes (see below).More »

Moderate Physical Activity

During moderate physical activity, breathing and heart rate become more rapid and the body burns about 3.5 to 7 caloriesper minute (depending on weight and fitness level). Both children and adults need an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, no matter their weight.More »


Obesity is a physical condition characterized, in children, by a BMI (see above) at or above the 95th percentile for their age and sex.More »


Children are considered overweight if their BMI is at or above the 85th percentile for their age and sex, but below the 95th percentile.More »


Sedentary is a near-synonym of inactive, especially referring to remaining in a seated position.More »

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, an essential hormone that helps the body turn glucose from food into energy.

?More »

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which the primary problem is that the body's cells have become resistant to insulin and cannot use it effectively.More »

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