U.S. childhood obesity rate nears 20%

Although child obesity has not changed significantly year-to-year since 2010, obesity rates have increased in kids since 1999.

Childhood obesity reached 17.3% in 2012
Childhood obesity reached 17.3% in 2012

HealthDay News -- Prevalence of all classes of obesity has increased in children since 1999, although the rates in 2011 and 2012 were not significantly different than those in 2009 and 2010, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

“Nationally representative data do not show any significant changes in obesity prevalence in the most recently available years, although the prevalence of obesity may be stabilizing,” wrote Asheley Cockrell Skinner, PhD and colleagues.

To examine the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity over time, researchers assessed data from repeated cross-sections of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2012) for a representative sample of 26,690 patients aged 2 to 19 years.

From 2011 to 2012, 17.3% of U.S. children in the United States were obese. Overall, 5.9% and 2.1% met the criteria for class 2 and class 3 obesity, respectively. Since 1999, all classes of obesity have increased.

"Continuing research is needed to determine which, if any, public health interventions can be credited with this stability," wrote the researchers. "Unfortunately, there is an upward trend of more severe forms of obesity and further investigations into the causes of and solutions to this problem are needed."

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