The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated growth charts on Thursday, extending to a body mass index of 60 (up from earlier charts that stopped at a BMI of 37), with different categories to track childhood obesity in children ages 2 to 19.
According to specialists, the rate of severe childhood obesity in America has virtually doubled in recent years.
Dr. Tom Inge, the program’s director at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, stated, “We discovered a decade ago that we were outpacing our growth charts.
The most popular method in the US for monitoring children’s growth and development is the CDC charts. According to Dr. Alyson Goodman of the CDC, parents are accustomed to discussing their children’s growth from the time they are infants.
According to her, the new charts will be “very beneficial” in facilitating improved dialogues between parents and medical professionals.
These charts serve as a visual aid, according to Goodman.
Since 2000, the previous charts have been in use.
According to CDC epidemiologist Cynthia Ogden, they were based on data from American surveys performed between 1963 and 1994, when significantly fewer children were fat, let alone seriously obese.
Approximately 4.5 million youngsters, or about 6%, fit that description.
Growth charts illustrate development patterns by age using percentile curves and BMI, a measurement of height and weight.
Children are not categorized as obese or seriously obese based on a rigid BMI criterion, unlike adults, Inge pointed out.
Instead, percentiles—where children fall about others their age—define children as fat.
According to the CDC, a kid is deemed obese if their growth chart percentile is at or above the 95th percentile and seriously obese if it is at or above the 120th percentile or if their BMI is 35 or above.
For instance, a 17-year-old guy with a BMI of 38 and measurements of 5 feet, 8 inches tall, and 250 pounds would be considered seriously obese.
The previous statistics didn’t include young people like 5’5″ and 300 lb. freshman high schooler Bryan Alcala of Aurora, Illinois, who first sought assistance in 2019.
Alcala, who had gained weight due to being diagnosed with a rare childhood bone ailment that limited his activity, recalled that this was when things “sort of got out of control.”
With BMIs of 45, 50, or greater, children like Alcala maxed out on the CDC charts, making it challenging to determine their condition or accurately map their progress, frequently postponing treatment, according to Inge.
One expert, who disagrees with using BMI to evaluate adults, advised clinicians to use the new charts with children with caution.
To avoid stigmatizing children and families, they should concentrate on the behaviors that lead to weight gain, according to Dr. Tracy Richmond, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
I find it problematic when used as a visual tool for families, said Richmond.
The family and child are already aware that they reside in a substantial body. With that, we clinicians won’t be offering any new information.
Bryan’s mother, Erika Alcala, expressed happiness that children like her son will be included in the new development charts.