October 2, 2022
Kids and teens in the US are becoming more obese

Kids and teens in the US are becoming more obese

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A recent analysis of data from a national health survey shows that from 2011 to 2012 and again from 2017 to 2020, obesity rates rose for children between the ages of 2 and 5 and 12- to 19-year-olds. The study’s lead author, Amanda Staiano, claims that youngsters in America of all racial and cultural origins have experienced the rise.

Staiano, the director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s pediatric obesity and health behavior lab at Louisiana State University, remarked that “The proportion of kids having obesity increased from 18% in the 2011 cycle to 22% in the 2020 cycle,”

“What is even more alarming is these data were all collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other data published recently show that kids are gaining even more weight because of restrictions to their diet and activity during the pandemic,” she said.

The forthcoming National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey is expected to produce even worse results, according to Staiano.

According to her, obesity has detrimental effects on one’s health, including a number of cancers, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, joint problems, anxiety, and depression.
“Kids are bearing the cost of this disease, and adults are paying for the added health care costs of kids growing up with diseases and needing treatment,” Staiano said. “Kids who aren’t eating nutritious diets tend to perform worse in school, and so obesity affects every area of a child’s life.”

For the study, she and Kathy Hu, a colleague at the Pennington Center, looked at data from over 15,000 American kids and teenagers who took part in the national health and nutrition survey in the years 2011–2012, 2013–2014, 2015–2016, and 2017–2020.

From 17.7 percent in 2011 and 2012 to 21.5 percent in the 2017-2020 survey, more children aged 2 to 19 were obese.

Over the ten-year period, the obesity rates for boys rose from 18 to 21.4 percent, while those for girls rose from 17 to 21.6 percent.

Preschoolers and teenagers had a sharp rise in the prevalence of obesity, whereas children aged 6 to 11 did not.