U.S. Childhood Obesity Rates Continue to Rise : Report Finds

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    U.S. childhood obesity rates continue to rise according to the latest analysis of federal data, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The study revealed that there’s been the sharpest increase in obesity among the nation’s youngest children ages 2 to 19.

    According to a new analysis from Duke Health researchers, childhood obesity rates continued their rising move in 2016. The findings revealed on Feb. 26 show that in 2016, 35.1 percent of U.S. children were overweight, 4.7-percent increase compared to 2014.

    In a start of the new study, researchers examined data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obtained from 3,340 children participating in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2015-16. They compared BMI reported in 2013 and 2014 to BMI reported in 2015 and 2016.

    The results found that there was a disturbingly large increase in obesity among the youngest children from about 9 percent to almost 14 percent.

    Asheley Skinner, an associate professor of population health services at Duke University and leader of the analysis says, “It is a big jump,” “That’s the highest level of obesity that we’ve seen in 2- to 5-year olds since 1999.”

    As childhood obesity rates are rising rapidly, researchers and officials are very concerned about many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

    “Obesity in the youngest group is a concern,” Skinner says, “because when obesity starts younger, most of these children continue to have obesity throughout childhood and into adulthood.” She also suggests, “The earlier you start seeing this, the harder it is to address it for these kids.”

    U.S. childhood obesity rates continue to rise