Obesity Prevalence Drops in Toddlers, Still High Overall

Published Online: Thursday, May 15, 2014
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Despite efforts to improve the nation’s health, overall obesity rates have failed to decrease among children and adults in the United States over the past decade, new research finds. Although the proportion of obese Americans remained high overall, the results of the study did indicate a decrease in rates among children aged 2 to 5 years.

Based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study, published in the February 26, 2014, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, estimated trends in obesity among adults and children from 2003 to 2012. Overall, there was no significant change in the rate of obesity from 2003-2004 through 2011-2012 among infants, children, and adults. In 2011-2012, 8.1% of infants and toddlers had high weight for recumbent length and 16.9% of children aged 2 to 19 years and 34.9% of adults 20 years and older were obese. However, obesity did significantly decrease among children aged 2 to 5 years, from 13.9% to 8.4% during the study period. Despite this decrease, obesity also significantly increased among women 60 years and older, from 31.5% to 38.1%.

“Obesity prevalence remains high, and thus it is important to continue surveillance,” the study authors suggest.

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