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No Recent Decrease in Prevalence of Obesity Among Children

No decrease in obesity prevalence at any age; recent increase in obesity for children aged 2 to 5

MONDAY, Feb. 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of obesity seems not to be decreasing for children aged 2 to 19 years, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in Pediatrics.

Asheley Cockrell Skinner, Ph.D., from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 1999 to 2016 to update the prevalence data on obesity trends among U.S. children and adolescents age 2 to 19 years.

The researchers found that the rates of obesity were significantly lower for white and Asian-American children compared with African-American children, Hispanic children, and children of other races. For children aged 2 to 19 years, a positive linear trend was observed for all definitions of overweight and obesity; the trend was most prominent among adolescents. A sharp increase in obesity prevalence was seen for children aged 2 to 5 years from 2015 to 2016 compared with the previous NHANES cycle.

“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,” the authors write. “In contrast, we report a significant increase in severe obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years since the 2013 to 2014 cycle, a trend that continued upward for many subgroups.”

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