Childhood Obesity Epidemic Likely Worse Than First Thought

Childhood Obesity Epidemic Likely Worse Than First Thought

Childhood Obesity Epidemic Likely Worse Than First Thought

September marks the first annual National Childhood Obesity Awareness month in the United States.  Congress passed the observance earlier this year in a unanimous vote.  The start of the observance came on the heels of an announcement that the childhood obesity rate in the country is likely significantly higher than first thought.

Researchers had already believed the childhood obesity/overweight rate to be nearly 32 percent among children ages two to 19.  However, a recent study found that the data might be grossly incorrect.  A recent study presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, found that it was likely that nearly one in five children were not classified as being obese or overweight when they should have been.

The study found that the underreporting of obesity rates was likely do to the way the data was collected in the first place.  Published childhood obesity rates were determined by parent reporting, based on the height and weight estimates of their children.  The new study found that nearly one in five parents thought their child weighed less than they actually do, and also misjudged their height, resulting in BMI’s that were lower than they should have been.  The finding means that the actual number of obese and overweight children is likely significantly higher than the estimated 32 percent. 

Even with the published obesity/overweight statistics, health officials have said that the childhood obesity rate qualifies as an epidemic.  Over the past four decades, the rate of obese and overweight children has nearly quadrupled.  The number of obese children was the basis for congress calling for a month dedicated to bringing public awareness to the problem.


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