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Prevalence of Obesity in English Youth Increasing

Rates projected to rise significantly by 2015, especially among lower socioeconomic groups

MONDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In England, obesity in children and adolescents will increase dramatically by 2015 if current trends continue, especially in young people from less advantaged socioeconomic groups, according to a study in the February issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Emmanuel Stamatakis, Ph.D., of University College London, and colleagues used repeated cross-sectional surveys to assess 1995 to 2007 trends in childhood and adolescent obesity in England.

Between 1995 and 2007, the researchers found that obesity prevalence increased from 3.1 to 6.9 percent in boys, and from 5.2 to 7.4 percent in girls. There are signs of a leveling trend, but based on linear trends, they projected that obesity prevalence in 2015 will be 10.1 percent in boys, 8.9 percent in girls, 8 percent in male adolescents, and 9.7 percent in female adolescents. They also projected that obesity prevalence in 2015 will be significantly higher in children and adolescents of lower socioeconomic status: 10.7 versus 7.9 percent in boys, 11.2 versus 5.4 percent in girls, 10 versus 6.7 percent in male adolescents, and 10.4 versus 8.3 percent in female adolescents.

"Thus, it is essential to implement effective strategies for the management and prevention of young obesity and the reduction of social class inequalities in health," the authors conclude.

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