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Obesity rates continue to climb among U.S. children and teens

Steven Reinberg Health Day Reporter
2022 MONDAY, July 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For the first time ever, more than one in five U.S. children is obese.

A new analysis of National Health Survey data shows that from 2011 Obesity rates rose in 2- to 5-year-olds and 12- to 19-year-olds by 2012 and from 2017 to 2020. According to study leader Amanda Staiano, this increase is real for American children of every racial and ethnic background.

“The rate of childhood obesity has risen from 18% in 2011 to 2020 22 percent of the year,” said Staiano, director of the Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Baton Rouge.

“What’s more shocking is that these data were collected before COVID-19 The -19 pandemic and other recently released data suggest that children are gaining more weight due to restrictions on their diet and activities during the pandemic,” she said.

Staiano worried about numbers in next National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey would be worse.

Obesity can have a major impact on health, she says, from certain cancers to diabetes , heart disease, asthma, joint problems,

“Kids bear The cost of this disease, and adults are paying the cost of this disease. Additional healthcare costs for children who have the disease and need treatment,” Staiano said. “Children who don’t eat a nutritious diet tend to perform worse in school, so obesity affects every aspect of a child’s life.”

For this study, she and her Pennington Center colleague Kathy Hu analyzed the health and nutritional status of nearly 15,000 U.S. children and adolescents who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2011-2012 and 2013-2014. Data, 2015-2016 and 2017-2020.

in 2 to Among 19-year-olds, obesity rates soared to 21.5% in the 2017-2020 survey, up from 17.7% in 2011-2012.

Boys’ obesity rate rises from 18% over a decade-long period To 21.4%, the obesity rate for girls rose from 17% to 21.6%.

While obesity rates have risen significantly among preschool children and adolescents, 6 to 11 Obesity rates among children aged 20 years did not rise significantly.


Overall, ki’s obesity rate ds 2 to 19 increased from 21.8% in Mexican Americans to 27%; Staiano and Hu found that the percentages ranged from 19.5% to 23.8% among black adolescents and from 15% to 18.4% among white children.

To help curb rising obesity trend, Staiano says doctors should screen and monitor obesity and related diseases affecting the heart, lungs and metabolism. But, she added, solving the problem will be the job of American society as a whole.

“Healthcare providers should provide counseling and evidence-based programs , to support families in adopting healthier lifestyles,” Staiano said. “Insurers should pay for these weight management services under the Affordable Care Act to prevent debilitating and costly illnesses.”

She said prevention and early treatment are crucial so children can gain a healthy weight.

“Parents and children should talk to their doctors and school nurses to formulate suitable A healthy diet and activity plan for their family,” Staiano said.

“Children put on a lot of weight during the summer break, so community leaders and the government Officials should advocate for meal programs to provide healthy meals during off-campus periods and structured activities for camps and programs during the summer,” she said.

Staiano stated that there is a need for a Investing in bariatric surgery options allows children to slow weight gain or help them lose weight in a safe and sustainable way.

“Citizen leaders should encourage grocery and corner store food deserts, and making sure walking trails, parks and playgrounds are safe and well maintained,” she added.

PhD. David Katz, a preventive and lifestyle medicine specialist in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and chair of the True Health Initiative, reviewed the findings.

He said the failed fight against childhood obesity in the United States has been going on for more than three decades .

“It’s a national disgrace, frankly, because this question brings with dire consequences, which we can address anytime as long as we truly commit to doing so,” Katz said.


Obesity rates are rising as the industry gains benefit, he pointed out.

“The problem is made worse because more resources are used to propagate the problem than There are far more resources to solve the problem,” Katz said. “For example, we know we have a deliberately addictive supply of junk food designed to maximize diets, but without addressing the underlying cause, ‘portion control’ has been suggested in vain.”

These new data suggest that obesity is not getting worse, but because our society has never Seriously work on it, Katz said.

“We should treat obesity in children like drowning— – After all, they’re indulging in the ultra-tasty calories of ultra-processed foods, and the endless proliferation of labor-saving techniques,” he said.

Katz says what is needed is about overeating and not exercising Mandatory training on the dangers, and extensive reminders about healthy eating. He likens these to the many steps it takes to keep kids safe near the water.

“After 30 years of personal dedication to the cause, I Waiting to see that day light up for myself and all the other parents,” Katz said.

The findings were published online on July 25 in JAMA Pediatrics .

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on childhood obesity.

Source: Amanda Staiano, PhD, Childhood Obesity and Health Director of Behavior, LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge; David Katz, MD, MPH, Specialist in Preventive and Lifestyle Medicine, and President of True Health Initiative, Oklahoma City of Tulsa; JAMA Pediatrics , July 25, 2022, online

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