As pediatricians, why should we be concerned about the obesity epidemic in the US?
One third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese in the US (Ogden, 2008).
Prevalence of overweight or obesity in children and adolescents in the US:
- 24% of preschool children (2-5 years)
- 33 % of school aged children (6-11 years)
- 34% of adolescents (12-19 years)
Prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents in the US:
- 12.4 % of preschool children
- 17% of school-aged children
- 17.6% of adolescents
Other countries with obesity problems (rates of overweight and obesity >30% in children and adolescents) (Janssen, 2005):
- Most countries in North and South America
- Great Britain
Children identified as overweight or obese in childhood have a higher likelihood of overweight or obesity in adulthood.
- 25% of obese preschool children remain obese as adults (Garn, 1985)
- 50% of obese 6 year olds remain obese as adults (Whitaker, 1997)
- 80% of obese 10-14 year old patients who had at least one obese parent remain obese as adults (Whitaker, 1997)
Obese adolescent girls are much more likely (80%) to remain obese as adults compared to obese adolescent boys (30%) (Garn, 1980).