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Obesity a Bigger Threat to Kids in Southern States
Date:5/3/2010

Rate in Mississippi is double that of children in Oregon, CDC study finds

MONDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- For American children, where they are raised may be a strong predictor of whether they'll become obese or not.

A new study finds that nearly half of kids nationwide are now overweight (32 percent) or obese (16 percent), with rates of childhood obesity much higher in Southern states than in other regions.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years and remains high among both boys and girls of all ages and racial and ethnic groups.

However, "you do see substantial disparities in obesity from state-to-state," said lead researcher Gopal K. Singh, a senior epidemiologist at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

Mississippi had the highest rate of childhood obesity at nearly 22 percent of kids surveyed, while Oregon had the lowest at 9.6 percent. The most children in the "overweight" (but not obese) category were also in Mississippi, at 44.5 percent, while Utah with about 23 percent had the fewest overweight children.

But the findings also offer a glimmer of hope that the epidemic of childhood obesity can be curbed.

Singh noted that if strategies to reduce obesity used in states such as Oregon and Utah were applied to states such as Mississippi, "there is a strong potential for obesity reduction."

The report is published in the May 3 online edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

For the study, Singh's team used the National Survey of Children's Health Data to collect data on more than 6,700 children ages 10 to 17 who were surveyed in 2003 and more than 44,000 children who were surveyed in 2007.

From 2003 to 2007, obesity increased by 10 percent for all children and by 18 percent among girls. But those trends weren't unifo
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