*Body mass index (BMI) is calculated by dividing the respondent’s body weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared. The index is: neither overweight nor obese; overweight; obese. Body mass index (BMI) for children is different from that of adults as they are still maturing. This variable classifies the measured BMI of children aged 2 to 17 as “obese” or “overweight” according to the age-and-sex-specific BMI cut-off points as defined by the WHO. Based on the WHO growth curves, the WHO recommends that children whose BMI is more than two standard deviations (SDs) above the mean should be considered obese, and those whose BMI is between one and two SDs above the mean, overweight.1
Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Shields and Tremblay. 2010. Canadian childhood obesity estimates based on WHO, IOTF and CDC cut-points. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 5: 265–273. http://www.obesitynetwork.ca/files/WHO_vs_CDC_Shields1704.pdf – accessed June 25, 2017.
Additional information on measured child body mass index (BMI) for children aged 2 to 5 years of age can be found in the Environmental Risks/Conditions section of the Early Child Development Module.
In 2004, 62.8% of boys 2 to 5 years and 68.3% of girls were neither overweight or obese.
25.4% of boys were overweight, 11.8% were obese.
22.3% of girls were overweight, 9.4% were obese.
1Shields and Tremblay. 2010. Canadian childhood obesity estimates based on WHO, IOTF and CDC cut-points. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 5: 265–273. http://www.obesitynetwork.ca/files/WHO_vs_CDC_Shields1704.pdf– accessed June 25, 2017.
It is important to remember that the majority of children are not obese in Canada. Children who are obese are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol – which puts them at risk for heart disease. They are more likely to have type 2 diabetes. However, these disorders are still rare, even in children with high BMI. They are also at increased risk for asthma, joint problems and some gastrointestinal problems. Furthermore, being obese is also linked with low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and bullying.2 This is in part because of the stigma and discrimination they experience because of misperceptions about weight. Weight Stigma can also lead to weight gain.
2Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity. Weight bias and stigma. http://www.uconnruddcenter.org/weight-bias-stigma