Is My Toddler or Child Overweight (Fat)?

Kids come in a wide variety of body types naturally. As parents, we want our children to be happy and healthy in every way, and that includes being underweight or overweight. Being a little overweight is not likely to be a health issue. Being overweight becomes a problem when the amount of excess weight has the potential to increase health risks for the child, now or in the future. This is what we call Childhood Obesity.

Obesity is a sensitive subject for everyone – especially children and toddlers. Body weight has physiological, emotional, and psychological implications for long-term health and self-esteem. Your pediatrician is your partner in helping to reduce these risks for your child.

Diagnosing Childhood Obesity
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines Childhood Obesity as a condition in which the child has a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 95 th percentile based upon a set of standard tables that take age, height, and other factors into account. These guidelines are important tools for parents and pediatricians to use together as part of the child’s health plan.

Why Is My Child Overweight (Fat)?
A child may experience Childhood Obesity for a lot of reasons. It could be related to behavioral or habitual factors such as calorie intake, dietary balance, relative amount of exercise, or other factors. Over-eating can be a symptom of psychological and emotional factors such as anxiety or depression. It may also be related to physiological factors such as metabolism. There is even research that suggests weight gain may be – in a minority of cases – related to health issues such an inflammatory response to low-grade infections, allergies, or a reaction to certain medications.

If a child is diagnosed with Childhood Obesity, your pediatrician can work with you determine a cause and – more importantly – the right course of treatment.

[Schedule an Office Visit]

Sources and Additional Resources
Childhood Obesity Facts by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Clinical Growth Charts (and other resources) by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

“Childhood Obesity: Common Misconceptions” by, a division of the AAP:

Office Documents

These links will allow you access to printable office forms. Note these forms should not be emailed back to the office. If you prefer, you can fax these to us at 770-772-6099, or bring them with you on your next visit."