Childhood Obesity

Defining Overweight and Obesity in Childhood

The most common and widely accepted definition of overweight and obesity in children relates to the Body Mass Index (BMI).

Children who fall between the 85th and 95th percentile for their height, age and gender are considered to be overweight. Children who are above the 95th percentile are considered obese.

Click here to see the BMI chart for girls
Click here to see the BMI chart for boys

Click here for a BMI calculator to find out exactly where your child sits.

Please note: It is recommended that you visit your local GP so your child can be properly assessed if you are concerned about weight issues in your child.

Some Statistics

The information collected from the 2007-2008 National Health Survey (NHS) suggest:

  • 25% of all children in Australia (approximately 600,000) between the ages of 5 and 17 years were considered to be overweight or obese
  • This is an increase of 4% from the 21% recorded in 1995
  • The breakdown of the 25% is 8% obese and 17% overweight
  • Young boys (5-12 years): 8% were obese and 16% were overweight
  • Older boys (13-17 years): 13% were obese and 16% were overweight
  • Young girls (5-12 years): 6% were obese and 17% were overweight
  • Older girls (13-17 years): 6% were obese and 20% were overweight

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