There is evidence that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents in Australia has increased in the last 15 years: an estimated 20 to 25 per cent of children and adolescents are now overweight or obese. The trend is similar in other developed and developing countries.
Epidemiological studies provide evidence that relative body weight tracks from childhood to adulthood and that the predictive power of this association increases with age.
Not all overweight and obese adults were overweight or obese as children. However, once a child or adolescent is on an overweight or obese percentile, it is unlikely that they will revert spontaneously to a lower weight percentile.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents is high enough to warrant both intervention and preventive action.