Obesity rates among U.S. children have leveled off in last decade

"Abdominal obesity is most linked to health complications," said Dr. David Katz.
By Brooks Hays  |  July 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM
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MINNEAPOLIS, July 21 (UPI) -- Too many kids remain overweight, their midsections too large for proper health, but a new report suggests obesity rates among American children aren't getting worse, and that numbers of abdominally obese kids flatlined between 2003 and 2012 -- seemingly good news.

The report analyzed the size and weight of children between the ages of 6 and 18. Using data collected from a compendium of other health studies, researchers calculated the average abdominal obesity (the ratio of waistline to height) of children over the eight years leading up to 2012.

The results: roughly 18 percent of children were abdominally obese in 2012 -- about the same amount who were overweight in 2003.

Bluntly stated by researcher Lyn Steffen: "Kids are not getting fatter." The associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, continued: "Abdominal obesity has been stable over the years."

The report, which was was published online this week in the journal Pediatrics, even found that among younger children abdominal obesity rates have fallen a few percentage points.

Lead researcher Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, said the new report aligns with previous findings, but that these more recent results are significant because "abdominal obesity is most linked to health complications."

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