Obese Kids

 
By Michelle Anderson • Published: August 19th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Medical researchers looking at data for hundreds of thousands of children have found that alarming numbers of them can now be classified as extremely obese.

In a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers at Southern California’s Kaiser Permanente say the prevalence of extreme obesity was higher than they expected.

Researchers said they weren’t motivated by concerns about appearance, but by health issues they fear will stick with the children along with the extra pounds. Extreme obesity can lead to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

The researchers collected data on more than 710,000 children and teenagers ranging in age from two to nineteen.

They sorted the children into groups that included those who were overweight, obese or extremely obese.

Under new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, overweight children fell into the eighty-fifth percentile or above on growth charts. Obesity meant those who landed in the ninety-fifth percentile or higher.

And extreme obesity was defined as children who were more than one-point-two times the ninety-fifth percentile.

The study found that seven-point-three percent of the boys and five-point-five percent of girls were extremely obese.

The percentage of extreme obesity peaked at ten years for boys and at twelve for girls.

Extreme obesity was lowest in Asian, Pacific Islander and non-Hispanic, white children. It was highest for black teenage girls and Hispanic boys.

The researchers said they believe the results in California would likely be similar among children across the rest of the United States.

Their most important advice? Families must tackle health problems together.