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Obesity and Weight Management

Weight

09/18/2006

Question:

Are the majority of high school students overweight, averageweight, or underweight

Answer:

The National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2004 (NHANES) located at The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website indicates that 17% of adolescents 12-19 years old were considered overweight.

Overweight is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) at or above the sex and age specific 95th percentile. The term obese is not used for children and adolescents. If a child's/teen's BMI falls between the 85th and 95th percentile they are considered 'at risk for overweight'. An average weight falls into a BMI range from the 5th to the 85th percentile. Below the 5th percentile is considered underweight.

Other NHANES data from 2002 indicates that the percent of adolescents 'at risk of overweight' was 30%. This leaves about 53% of adolescents to be within the normal weight and underweight range. The underweight population does not appear to be tracked, but I would guess it to be 1-2%.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University