Childhood Obesity Rates Still on the Rise
U.S. childhood obesity rates have increased over the past 14 years, according to a study published online and in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics on April 7th. * This sheds some doubt over the CDC’s announcement back in February when its researchers announced that they found a sharp drop in preschool obesity rates over the past decade. Children are considered obese when their body mass index exceeds that of 95 percent of their peers of the same age and sex.
The new study used the same data source as the CDC but analyzed obesity rates over a different time frame. It found increases in obesity for children age 2 to 19, and a considerable rise in the percentage who were severely obese. This was especially noticeable among black boys, Hispanic girls and white girls.
Led by Asheley Cockrell Skinner of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the main message of her analysis is that childhood obesity rates have not improved. She also said that there is some evidence that intensive weight loss can be beneficial for overweight and obese children, but intensive weight loss programs are not widely available.
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*Reuters Health and Jama Pediatrics, online April 7, 2014