Childhood Obesity Rate Triples Since 1970s

Childhood obesity among children and teens has more than tripled since 1976, according to a study published in Academic Pediatrics. Interestingly, race and income play a role in these numbers.

child obesityResearchers for Academic Pediatrics have revealed that the rate of high obesity among children and teens has tripled since 1976, and then some.

The findings came from a long-term health survey that began more than three decades ago. As of 2004, researchers say, almost 4 percent of American youth, ages 2 through 19, are severely obese. Based on a present-day evaluation, that figure is no less than a 70 percent increase over figures from 1994.

Severe obesity among children means the child has a body mass index in the 99th percentile, given the child’s age and gender. Kids who have the highest risk of becoming obese are from low-income families.

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Ethnicity has also proven to be a factor. According to that latest survey, some 6 percent of African-American kids ages 2 to 19 were classified as severely obese, with Mexican-American youth at 5 percent and Caucasians at 3 percent.

Dr. Joseph Skelton of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a lead researcher in the study, noted that the rising obesity problem ties into another, which is the lack of sturdy healthcare among lower-income families, indicating that the youth who have the least medical support are the ones that need it most.

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