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4.8 million American children are obese, new report reveals

4.8 million American children are obese, report reveals – and poor kids are over twice as likely to have unhealthy weights as their rich peers

  • The rate of obese children between ages 10 and 17 slightly fell to 15% in 2017-18 from 16% in 2016
  • Mississippi had the highest rate of youth obesity at 25.4 % while Utah had the lowest at 8.7% 
  • Black kids had obesity rates of about 22% compared to nearly 12% for white kids  
  • 22% of children living below the federal poverty level were obese – twice as many those living way above the poverty level 

There are 4.8 million American children between ages 10 and 17 that are obese, a new report finds.

This makes the national obesity rate 15.3 percent for 2017-18 compared with 16.1 percent in 2016, but the authors say this slight drop is not ‘statistically significant.’  

Researchers found poor children were more than twice as likely to be dangerously overweight as their rich peers.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) says there need to be more policies enacted at both the state and federal levels to further drive down the numbers.

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found that 4.8 million American children between ages 10 and 17 are obese. Blue (0-9.9%); Teal (10-14.9%); Green (15-19.9%); Yellow (20- 24.9%); Orange (25 – 29.9%)

For their annual State of Childhood Obesity report, the researchers analyzed data collected through the 2017 and 2018 National Survey of Children’s Health, which looks at children’s physical and mental health, access to health care, and familial situation. 

In Mississippi, more than a quarter of children were obese, a higher proportion than was seen in any other state. 

Utah, on the other hand, had the lowest obesity rate, at just 8.7 percent. 

Three states had obesity rates higher than the national rate of 15.3 percent, including  Mississippi, West Virginia at 20.9 percent and Kentucky at 20.8 percent

Six states, including Utah, had obesity rates lower than the national rate. The others were: Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana and Washington. 

The RWFJ report revealed the obesity rates increased as household income decreased. 

Nearly 22 percent of kids from families living below the federal poverty level were obese compared to 9.4 percent from families living 400 percent above the poverty level. 

That’s a comparison of a household of four with an annual income of $25,100 compared to a household of comparable size with an annual income of $117,680. 

Discrepancies were also apparent among races. The obesity rate among black kids was 22.2 percent and 19 percent of Hispanic kids were obese. 

Meanwhile, rates were 11.8 percent for white children and 7.3 percent for Asian children. 

THE WESTERN DIET EXPLAINED 

The Western diet is loosely defined as one full of fatty and sugary foods, such as burgers, fries and soda.  

People often eat foods that are high in

  • Saturated fats
  • Red meats
  • ‘Empty’ carbohydrates
  • Junk Food

And low in

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Seafood 
  • Poultry 

Health effects have been linked to things such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, colorectal cancer and dementia. 

‘These new data show that this challenge touches the lives of far too many children in this country, and that Black and Hispanic youth are still at greater risk than their White and Asian peers,’ said Dr Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of RWJF in a statement.

Childhood obesity is now the number one health concern among parents in the US, topping drug abuse and smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Obesity is a risk factor for several devastating chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart attack and even certain types of cancer.

Prevention is important early in life as one study found that five-year-olds who were overweight were four times as likely to be obese by age 14 as children with normal weights. 

Health officials say that addressing the obesity epidemic will not only lead to better health outcomes, but also reduce medical costs sustained by American families and the US itself. 

In 2012, a study from Cornell University in New York found obesity accounts for about 21 percent of total US health care costs, approximately $190.2 billion per year.

In its report, the RWJF recommended several policies to address the obesity epidemic. 

Some suggestions include grants from the CDC to all 50 states to implement obesity awareness campaigns and the US Department of Agriculture updating federal nutrition standards for school meals.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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