Childhood obesity nearly doubles among 2-5 year olds

Despite hopeful claims to the contrary, childhood obesity continues to rise, particularly among Black and Latino youth and 2-5 year olds

A 17-year analysis of childhood obesity newly published in Pediatrics reveals that 1 in 7 American children are already obese by the age of 5. That’s up from 1 in 11 children.

The overall increase in obese and severely-obese children rose from 14% in 1999 to 18.5% in 2015-16. Meaning nearly 1 in 5 children between the ages of 2-19 are considerably overweight.

The report contradicts hopes that obesity was falling among youth. At best, the analysis suggests, the numbers are holding steady.

White and Asian-American children have significantly lower rates of obesity than do African-American children, Hispanic children, or children of other races.

Melinda Sothern, director of behavioral and community health sciences at Louisiana State University, suggested to NPR (National Public Radio) that trend may be the result of a “perfect storm” of stress, which, when combined with a “lack of access to healthy foods and opportunities for outdoor play,” can affect biology on a genetic level.

Click here for last month’s NPR summary of the analysis.

Visit our Healthy Eating, Healthy Activity, and 5-2-1-0 pages too for ideas on how to promote positive physical behaviors.

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