Childhood obesity in the U.S. is a growing problem.
That’s the troubling conclusion of a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers analyzed data from 1999 to 2016 on more than 3,000 kids from the federal government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which tracks childhood obesity.
Their findings refuted other reports that obesity in 2- to 19-year-olds was holding fast or improving.
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“Despite previous reports that obesity in children and adolescents has remained stable or decreased in recent years, we found no evidence of a decline in obesity prevalence at any age,” researchers led by Asheley Cockrell Skinner of Duke University wrote.
“In contrast, we report a significant increase in severe obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years since the 2013–2014 cycle, a trend that continued upward for many subgroups.”
Data shows that percentage of children aged 2 to 19 years old who are obese increased from 14% in 1999 to 18.5% in 2015 and 2016.
Things were worse for younger kids. The obesity rate in children aged 2 to 5 jumped from 9% to 14%, bringing them to their highest level of obesity since 1999, researchers noted.
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Obesity is highest in African-American and Hispanic children, the study found.
Too much junk food and too little exercise have been previously cites as culprits for the unhealthy trend of childhood obesity.
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