Wait, CDC, what, what huh?

The front page of the CDC’s childhood obesity website:

Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago.

The “basics about childhood obesity” page of the same website:

A child’s weight status is determined using an age- and sex-specific percentile for BMI rather than the BMI categories used for adults because children’s body composition varies as they age and varies between boys and girls.

CDC Growth Charts are used to determine the corresponding BMI-for-age and sex percentile. For children and adolescents (aged 2—19 years):

Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and lower than the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex.
Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex.

Wait wait… wha… huh? 17% of children are above the 95th percentile? EH? Comprende?

I guess maybe the percentiles are worldwide? (Though that would be weird, because it would include countries with lots of childhood malnutrition, some of which are very populous…) Or… they mean something unusual by “affected by?” Or they just don’t understand what a percentile is.

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2 Responses to “Wait, CDC, what, what huh?”

  1. Kenny Says:

    Perhaps 17% of PRESENT children are in the 95th percentile of ALL children, since they started recording the statistics?

  2. amanda Says:

    they don’t understand what a percentile is.

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