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Obesity rates decline for many adolescents but disparities worsen
Date:8/15/2010

Obesity rates have started to decline and level off for many adolescents, but continue to increase for certain racial and ethnic minorities, according to a new UCSF-led study.

The evidence of increasing racial disparities for obesity underscores the need for more tailored intervention programs and policies that target high-risk groups, the authors conclude.

The study, which is the first to find significant differences in obesity trends over time by race and ethnicity, appears online in the journal Pediatrics, available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/papbyrecent.dtl. It also will be published in the September 2010 print issue of the journal.

"While the decline and stabilization of obesity among certain groups is encouraging, we are seeing an increase in disparities that is troubling, especially among the most severely obese youth," said first author Kristine Madsen, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCSF. "As our country becomes increasingly diverse, it is critical that we act quickly to address these disparities."

Madsen and her co-authors examined trends in the prevalence of high body mass index (BMI) among Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, Asian, black, and American Indian adolescents in California from 2001 through 2008. BMI is a measure of body fat based on a person's height and weight that is commonly used to screen for obesity. Generally, children are considered obese if they have a BMI at or above the 95th percentile, and severely obese if their BMI score is at or above the 99th percentile.

The data revealed that obesity rates at the 95th percentile declined or stabilized among a number of groups during the time period studied. Among white and Asian girls and boys, obesity rates peaked in 2005, then declined over the next three years, with 2008 rates coming in at 12 percent for white youth and 13 percent for Asians
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Contact: Kate Vidinsky
kate.vidinsky@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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