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Overweight American children and adolescents becoming fatter
Date:8/18/2010

Overweight American children and adolescents have become fatter over the last decade, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and National Institute on Aging (NIA). They examined adiposity shifts across socio-demographic groups over time and found U.S. children and adolescents had significantly increased adiposity measures such as body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and triceps skinfold thickness (TST). The increases in adiposity were more pronounced in some sex-ethnic groups such as black girls. In addition, these groups gained more abdominal fat over time, which was indicated by waist size and posed greater health risks than elevated BMI. Their results are featured in the August 2010 issue of the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.

"Our analysis shows that the increase in adiposity among U.S. children and adolescents was unequally distributed across socio-demographic groups and across the spectrum of BMI, waist circumference and triceps skinfold thickness measures," said Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, senior author of the study and an associate professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. "Heavier children and adolescents gained more adiposity, especially waist size, and these findings were most significant among children ages 6 to 11. Ethnic disparities in mean BMI have also increased substantially when comparing black girls with their white counterparts for all ages combined. Solely examining the changes in the prevalence of overweight and obesity based on fixed BMI cut points could not gain such important insights regarding shifts in the obesity epidemic."

To examine these changes over time, researchers conducted a comprehensive analysis of nationally representative survey data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) since the late 1980s. They examined the changes in American boys and girls ages 2 to 19, as well as by
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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