Definitions for Adults For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the "body mass index" (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat. An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. See the following table for an example. HeightWeight RangeBMIConsidered 5' 9" 124 lbs or less Below 18.5 Underweight 125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight 169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight 203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obese
Childhood Overweight and Obesity Obesity is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. Results from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2-19 years are obese. Between 1976-1980 and 1999-2000, the prevalence of obesity increased. Between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008 there was no significant trend in obesity prevalence. Among pre-school age children 2-5 years of age, obesity increased from 5 to 10.4% between 1976-1980 and 2007-2008 and from 6.5 to 19.6% among 6-11 year olds. Among adolescents aged 12-19, obesity increased from 5 to 18.1% during the same period.1, 46
The U.S. National Physical Activity Plan is a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives that aim to increase physical activity in all segments of the American population. The Plan is the product of a private-public sector collaborative. Hundreds of organizations are working together to change our communities in ways that will enable every American to be sufficiently physically active.
Aerobic Activity Aerobic activity should make up most of your child's 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week
Muscle Strengthening Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes.
Bone Strengthening Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes.
What do you mean by "age-appropriate" activities? Some physical activity is better-suited for children than adolescents. For example, children do not usually need formal muscle-strengthening programs, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually strengthen their muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees. As children grow older and become adolescents, they may start structured weight programs. For example, they may do these types of programs along with their football or basketball team practice.
Tips on Getting Children Active Set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle yourself. Make physical activity part of your family's daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together. Give your children equipment that encourages physical activity. Take young people to places where they can be active, such as public parks, community baseball fields or basketball courts. Be positive about the physical activities in which your child participates and encourage them to be interested in new activities. Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything your child enjoys, either structured or non-structured. Activities can range from team sports or individual sports to recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities or free-time play. Instead of watching television after dinner, encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase or riding bikes. Be safe! Always provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads or knee pads and ensure that activity is age-appropriate.
What if my child has a disability? Physical activity is important for all children. It's best to talk with a health care provider before your child begins a physical activity routine. Try to get advice from a professional with experience in physical activity and disability. They can tell you more about the amounts and types of physical activity that are appropriate for your child's abilities.