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Some Minority Groups Hit Hard by Childhood Obesity
Date:8/16/2010

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- While some research suggests that the incidence of childhood obesity may be leveling off, a new study finds that for certain racial groups the rates may actually be getting higher.

The study, to be published in the September issue of Pediatrics, finds that black, Hispanic and American Indian girls have two to three times higher odds of having a high body-mass index (BMI) compared to white girls.

What's more, although rates of obesity peaked for Hispanic girls in 2005, they have kept on rising for American Indian and black girls.

"What was encouraging was that we saw some decline in obesity, [but] we saw an increase in the racial disparities. So, whatever policies we're putting in place probably aren't having the effect we want for all groups," said study author Dr. Kristine Madsen, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.

"Unfortunately, today's policies may be increasing the disparities in childhood obesity, and we need to target the communities that get left behind," she said.

Madsen and her colleagues reviewed data on more than 8 million fifth-, seventh- and ninth-grade students in California. The children underwent school-based screening of their BMI between 2001 and 2008.

Forty-six percent of the children were Hispanic, 33 percent were white, almost 13 percent were Asian, 8 percent were black and less than 1 percent were American Indian, according to the study.

The researchers separated the data into four BMI cut points for overweight and obesity: at or above the 85th percentile for age and sex (overweight), at or above the 95th percentile (obese), at or above the 97th percentile and over the 99th percentile (severely obese).

They found that 38 percent of the kids were overweight, nearly 20 percent were obese and 3.6 percent were severely obese. '/>"/>

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