How bad is childhood obesity in the United States?

Originally posted in Insidermedicine

The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has held fast during the past decade, according to research published in the January 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Here are some things families can do to combat childhood obesity:

• Ensure everyone eats 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day

• Limit time in front of TV, computer, or game console screens to 2 hours or less per day

• Engage in physical activity for an hour or more a day

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville used data from a nationally representative sample of the U.S population to estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children aged 19 and younger in the years 2007-8.

Among infants and toddlers under the age of 2, nearly 10% were at above the 95th percentile with regard to human growth charts of weight-for-length. Among those aged 2 to 19, 12% were at or above the 97th percentile for body mass index (BMI) for their age group. Another 17% were at or above the 95th percentile, and 32% were at or above the 85th percentile. Based on the adult definition of obesity of a BMI or 30 or over, nearly 13% of these children were obese.

Today’s research highlights the ongoing problem of childhood overweight and obesity and suggests more needs to be done to address the issue.

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