Childhood obesity continues to be a problem for the nation's children. Hispanic boys and African-American girls are disproportionately affected. States are trying a variety of programs to reduce the growth of childhood obesity.
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Childhood obesity continues to be a problem in the United States.
- Obesity now affects approximately 12.5 million U.S. children and teens (17 percent of all children and teens in the country).1
- In 2009, 12 percent of high school students were obese.2
- Overall, children living in rural areas are about 25 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than children living in metropolitan areas.3 The overall rate for children and adolescents has tripled from just one generation ago.1
- During the past 10 years, however, the rapid increase of obesity rates has slowed and leveled.1
- Hispanic boys and African-American girls are disproportionately affected by obesity.1
- Hispanic children, as a whole, suffer from the highest overall rates of obesity (21 percent) and being overweight (38 percent)4
- In 2007-08, Mexican-American children were 1.4 times more likely to be overweight as compared to white children.5
- African-American children were 30 percent more likely to be overweight than white children in 2007-2008.6
- Among Native American children younger than age 5, 20 percent are overweight and 20 percent are obese.7
- Obesity is one of the leading risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.8
- Obese children are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, along with other health and psychological problems.9
- Thirty-one states, plus the District of Columbia, have state laws addressing school nutrition.
- Twenty-nine states have legislation setting some required amount of physical activity in schools.
- Sixteen states have created a state task force or committee to tackle the issue of childhood obesity.
- Nine states mandate the collection of body mass index or other health information in schools.