Obesity means having too much body fat. Some doctors define an obese child as someone who weighs 20 percent - or more - over the ideal body weight for his or her height.
Childhood obesity is already an epidemic in some countries, and it is rising in many others. Health organizations estimate that there are approximately 22 million children who are overweight throughout the world. It is difficult to get more precise numbers. In only a few countries, doctors report the figures after they examine the child. In most countries, however, parents fill out forms to report their children's height and weight. Estimates based on doctors' reports are more reliable than reports sent in by parents. This is because many parents don't give realistic estimates and tend to write down lower weights for their children.
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