Obesity in youth


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Obesity Facts | Healthy Schools | CDC

No one is immune to the risk of growing up at an unhealthy weight. Childhood obesity cuts across all communities and all categories of race, ethnicity and family income.


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Alarmingly, the obesity problem strikes at an early age, with researchers estimating a staggering 9. The obesity rate for children ages 6 to 11 has also more than quadrupled during the past 40 years — from 4. In fact, this crisis marks the first time in our history that a generation of American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents. Among non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic adults, women had a higher prevalence of obesity than men.

There was no significant difference in prevalence between non-Hispanic white men and women.

Childhood Obesity Trends

Figure 2. Age-adjusted prevalence of obesity among adults aged 20 and over, by sex and race and Hispanic origin: United States, — Access data table for Figure 2 pdf icon. Overall, the prevalence of obesity among adolescents 12—19 years School-aged boys Adolescent girls There was no significant difference in the prevalence of obesity between boys and girls overall or by age group. Figure 3. Prevalence of obesity among youth aged 2—19 years, by sex and age: United States, — The prevalence of obesity among non-Hispanic black There were no significant differences in the prevalence of obesity between non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Asian youth or between non-Hispanic black and Hispanic youth.

The pattern among girls was similar to the pattern in all youth. The pattern among boys was similar to the pattern in all youth, except Hispanic boys There were no significant differences in the prevalence of obesity between boys and girls by race and Hispanic origin.


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Figure 4. Prevalence of obesity among youth aged 2—19 years, by sex and race and Hispanic origin: United States, — From — through —, a significantly increasing trend in obesity was observed in both adults and youth. The observed change in prevalence between — and —, however, was not significant among both adults and youth Figure 5. Figure 5.

What causes obesity in a teen?

Trends in obesity prevalence among adults aged 20 and over age adjusted and youth aged 2—19 years: United States, — through — Access data table for Figure 5 pdf icon. The prevalence of obesity was higher among adults aged 40—59 than among adults aged 20—39 overall and in both men and women. Among youth, the prevalence of obesity among those aged 2—5 years was lower compared with older children, and this pattern was seen in both boys and girls. Women had a higher prevalence of obesity than men among non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic adults, but not among non-Hispanic white adults.

Among youth, there was no significant difference in obesity prevalence between boys and girls of the same race and Hispanic origin. Overall, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults and youth had a higher prevalence of obesity compared with other race and Hispanic-origin groups.

Obesity prevalence was lower among non-Hispanic Asian men and women compared with other race and Hispanic-origin groups. Among men, obesity prevalence was similar between non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white men, but obesity prevalence was higher among Hispanic men compared with non-Hispanic black men.

For women, obesity prevalence was similar among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women, and both groups had a higher prevalence of obesity than non-Hispanic white women. Among youth, obesity prevalence among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic youth was higher than both non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Asian youth. This pattern was similar among boys and girls, except Hispanic boys had a higher obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic black boys. Obesity prevalence increased in both adults and youth during the 18 years between — and — Previous analyses showed no change in prevalence among youth between — and — 2.

Unfortunately, many children do not have access to nutritious foods early on or do not get enough active play during their day—in some cases, time spent on mobile devices, computers, and watching TV cuts into time they could be spending playing and running. The Reducing Obesity in Youth Act , introduced by Senator Cory Booker D-NJ , recognizes the impact that healthy habits have on children and how critical these habits are in helping children reach their full potential.

The bill focuses on three area-specific interventions: the improvement of eating patterns, physical activity, and the amount of screen time a child has per day with television programs, movies, handheld devices, etc. The Reducing Obesity in Youth Act would amend the Public Health Service Act to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award five year competitive grants to local entities, such as nonprofits with expertise in early childhood health and obesity or institutions of higher education or research.

The intent is to create healthier early care environments and educational settings by focusing on nutrition, activity, and screen time. Furthermore, parents will be engaged to support these eating and physical activity programs to ensure that children learn healthy habits at home and at school. Programs will need to show that they are providing solutions for a wide variety of communities—urban, rural, low income, and communities of color.

Obesity has been linked to low self-esteem, low academic performance, and higher rates of cardiovascular and heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Helping children develop healthy choices at a young age can help them avoid some of these challenges. Childhood obesity in the United States has tripled over the past 30 years.

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