Assessment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity

Pediatrics. 2007 Dec;120 Suppl 4:S193-228. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-2329D.


Accurate appropriate assessment of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents is a critical aspect of contemporary medical care. However, physicians and other health care professionals may find this a somewhat thorny field to enter. The BMI has become the standard as a reliable indicator of overweight and obesity. The BMI is incomplete, however, without consideration of the complex behavioral factors that influence obesity. Because of limited time and resources, clinicians need to have quick, evidence-based interventions that can help patients and their families recognize the importance of reducing overweight and obesity and take action. In an era of fast food, computers, and DVDs, it is not easy to persuade patients to modify their diets and to become more physically active. Because research concerning effective assessment of childhood obesity contains many gaps, this report is intended to provide a comprehensive approach to assessment and to present the evidence available to support key aspects of assessment. The discussion and recommendations are based on >300 studies published since 1995, which examined an array of assessment tools. With this information, clinicians should find themselves better equipped to face the challenges of assessing childhood overweight and obesity accurately.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Health Planning Guidelines
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight / diagnosis*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / therapy