Postgrad Med J 82:429-437 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2005.043836
  • Review

Obesity in childhood and adolescence: evidence based clinical and public health perspectives

  1. J J Reilly
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J J Reilly
 University Division of Developmental Medicine, University of Glasgow/ Yorkhill Hospitals Glasgow, 1st Floor Tower Block QMH, Yorkhill, Glasgow G3 8SJ, Scotland; jjr2y{at}
  • Received 28 November 2005
  • Accepted 24 January 2006


A global epidemic of paediatric obesity occurred in recent years, and prevalence of obesity is continuing to rise. In the developed world obesity is now the most common disease of childhood and adolescence. Paediatric obesity is not a cosmetic issue, being associated with a significant burden of ill health both for obese children and for adults who were obese as children. Health professionals tend to underestimate the impact of paediatric obesity, and lack the skills, knowledge, and time to treat it effectively. This short review aims to summarise recent systematic reviews on the origins, consequences, prevention, and treatment of paediatric obesity.


  • * From systematic review and critical appraisal.16

  • Long term social and economic disadvantage pronounced in women, less obvious in men.

  • * For further information see Gortmaker et al.52

  • In girls, not boys.52