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Childhood Obesity Rates Across US Still On The Rise

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There are programs to prevent and reduce obesity but despite these interventions childhood obesity rates across the United States continue to increase, a study says.

A study conducted by the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina showed that the rate of childhood obesity among Americans has been showing no signs of decline.

Using information from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2014, the team revealed that more than 33 percent of children aged 2 to 19 years are overweight, almost 25 percent are obese, and not less than 2 percent are severely obese.

"Despite other recent reports, . . . there is no evidence of a decline in the last few years," said Asheley Skinner, head researcher.

BMI (body mass index) data also rose by 2.1 percent from 2011-2012.

Children with at least 35 BMI are categorized as having class 2 obesity; while those with a BMI of 40 and above are categorized as having class 3 obesity.

The study also found that Hispanic and black children are more likely to be severely obese.

According to Skinner, there is an urgent need to treat obesity among 4.5 million children in the U.S. but despite programs, awareness and effort to combat obesity, there is still no single step to solve it.

"Unless we make big changes on a national level, we're not going to see huge changes in obesity," said Skinner.

In schools, placing healthy snacks in the canteen counter could do no great impact to the children because other environmental influences make them eat unhealthy food and be less active.

"But if you change school lunch, and you increase opportunities for physical activity and you make it easier for parents to access healthier foods, then you start creating an environment that supports healthy weight," Skinner said.

Obesity could lead to type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and other disorders. To reduce obesity means to "make healthier choices easier choices," said Dr. William Dietz of the Global Center for Prevention and Wellness, Washington D.C.

The study's findings were released on April 25 in the journal Obesity.

Photo: Dani Lurie | Flickr

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