Additional Innovative Programs Are Urgently Needed To Stop The Spread of Childhood Obesity, Especially Now When More Kids Are Becoming Severely Obese
In the last 25 years, rates of severe Childhood Obesity in the United States have tripled,
putting increasing numbers of children at risk for Diabetes mellitus Type 2 and heart disease, says a new study released on July 29, 2009 by the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Researchers looked at National Health and Nutrition Survey on 12,384 youths, ages 2 to 19 years, and found that the prevalence of Severe Obesity increased from 0.8 percent in the period from 1976 to 1980 to 3.8 percent in the period from 1999 to 2004. Severe Obesity correlates to a body mass index that’s equal to or greater than the 99% percentile for age and gender.
The finding could mean that 2.7 million children in the United States are severely obese, the researchers said.
African-American and Mexican-American children had the largest increases in Severe Obesity, along with children in families below the poverty level. For example, the percentage of severely obese Mexican-American children rose from 0.9 percent to 5.2 percent.
The researchers also found that one-third (33 %) of severely obese children had Metabolic Syndrome, which is a group of risk factors for Diabetes mellitus Type 2,
stroke (brain attack) and heart attack. The risk factors include high blood pressure,
bad cholesterol (LDL) and high Insulin levels.
The study appeared online in Academic Pediatrics.
“Children are not only becoming obese but becoming severely obese, which impacts their overall health”, said Dr. Joseph Skelton, an obesity expert at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and lead author of the study.
Dr. Augusto Agostini
Ph. D. in Nutrition