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Health Challenge Solutions Among Our Youth

Girl Eating an Apple

Why Obesity Among Our Youth Is a Health Problem

Childhood Obesity Rates and Statistics

Children have become heavier in the past 30 years, the prevalence of childhood obesity has more than doubled among children ages 2 to 5, has nearly tripled among youth ages 6 to 11, and has more than tripled among adolescents ages 12 to 19.


This rate, though, remains alarmingly high. About 17% of American children ages 2 to 19, or 1 in 6,

are obese. Further, the latest data continue to suggest that overweight and obesity are having a

greater effect on minorities, including blacks and Hispanics.

Health Problems Linked to Obesity

Obesity in childhood can add up to health problems—often for life. In adults, overweight and obesity are linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar), high blood pressure, certain cancers, and other chronic conditions. Research has shown that obese children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults.

Though rare in youth ages 12 to 19 years, type 2 diabetes is increasingly being seen in children and adolescents, particularly among minority communities. Moreover, the 2005-2006 NHANES data show that about 16% of these youth have pre-diabetes. In a recent national study, 58% of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were obese.

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