TABLE 2-1 Weight Statuses and Corresponding Percentiles

Age (years) At Risk for Overweight Overweight Obese
0–2 (WHO charts) 84.1st to 97.7th percentile >97.7th percentile N/A
2–5 (CDC charts) N/A 85th to 95th percentile >95th percentile
NOTE: N/A = not applicable.

on healthy growth, but also on identifying excess weight-for-length or -height and monitoring the trajectory of change in weight-for-length, weight-for-height, or BMI-for-age. Health care providers should identify children less than 2 years of age as at risk for overweight if their growth measurements are between the 84.1st and 97.7th percentiles on the WHO charts, and as overweight if their measurements exceed the 97.7th percentile. Using the CDC charts, they should identify children aged 2–5 years as overweight if their measurements are between the 85th and 95th percentiles, and obese if their measurements exceed the 95th percentile (see Table 2-1).

Parents should be given appropriate information, suggestions, and referrals to identify behaviors putting the child at risk. In general, both health care practitioners and parents need to understand that “bigger is not always better.”

The training of pediatricians, nurses, and others who work with children needs to include basic obesity prevention. In the end, preventing childhood obesity requires early intervention. The environments in which children spend their time and information provided to parents on nutrition, activity, and sleep are critical to ensuring children’s well-being. When a child is at risk or already overweight or obese, the problem needs to be recognized in the early stages by all health care providers. Health care providers and programs that provide guidance to parents, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), are best positioned to inform parents about obesity prevention for young children.

The Role of Health Care Professionals

Parents view pediatricians, primary care physicians, and health care providers as having the most authority in offering advice about childrearing (McLearn et al., 1998; Moseley et al., 2011). Parents interact with pediatricians and other health care providers in the early stages of child growth more than with any other pro-

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