Children’s obesity and BMI
This chapter looks at the weight of children aged 2-15, and the relationship between being overweight and obese and demographic variables. Children’s perceptions of their weight and their parents’ perceptions are also examined.
- Levels of obesity peaked in around 2004 and 2005 at 18% to 19% among both boys and girls.
- Levels of obesity have been slightly lower in the last few years, with little change, with 17% of boys and 16% of girls obese in 2011 and 14% of both boys and girls in 2012.
Boys and girls
- Among children aged 2-15, 14% of boys and girls were obese, and 28% of boys and girls were either overweight or obese.
- Levels of obesity varied according to socio-economic status. Obesity was highest for boys in the lowest group of household incomes, 19%, and for girls in the three lowest groups of household incomes, 15% to 17%.
- When children aged 8-15 were asked about their weight, 61% of boys and 54% of girls felt that they were about the right weight, 11% of boys and 15% of girls felt they were too heavy, and 8% of boys and 4% of girls thought they were too light.
- The majority of children who thought themselves too heavy, 65%, were obese.
- Of those children who thought they were about the right weight, 21% were overweight or obese.
- The majority of children aged 8-15, 68% of boys and 66% of girls, said that they were not trying to change their weight.
- 21% of boys and 32% of girls said they were trying to lose weight. Among those who said they were trying to lose weight 26%, were overweight and 48% were obese.
- The majority of parents of boys and girls aged 4-15 were able to accurately judge if their child was too heavy.
- Just under a quarter of parents who thought their child was about the right weight in fact had a child who was overweight or obese.