MONDAY, July 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Overall, obesity increased between 2011 and 2020 for children of all races and ethnicities in the United States, according to a research letter published online July 25 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Kathy Hu and Amanda E. Staiano, Ph.D., from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2011 to 2020) to examine changes in obesity prevalence by age among U.S. youth. The analysis included 14,967 children and adolescents.

The researchers found that among youth ages 2 to 19 years, the prevalence of obesity increased from 17.7 percent in 2011-2012 to 21.5 percent in 2017-2020. Increases were seen for both boys (18.1 to 21.4 percent) and for girls (17.2 to 21.6 percent). The prevalence of obesity increased significantly in children aged 2 to 5 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, but not in children ages 6 to 11 years. Increases in obesity were seen across races and ethnicities (Mexican Americans: 21.8 to 27.0 percent; Black: 19.5 to 23.8 percent; non-Hispanic White: 15.0 to 18.4 percent).

“Because of the significant increase in obesity, there is an urgent need for identification of antecedents and correlates of adiposity and cardiometabolic risk for early obesity prevention,” the authors write.

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