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Obesity Among Low-Income Kids on the Rise

Researchers say trend is part of national problem

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Rates of overweight among young children in low-income U.S. families increased between 1989 and 2000, says a study in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

The study by the U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion focused on children aged 2 to 4 years old from low-income families taking part in federally funded programs.

Researchers found that in 2000, more than 10 percent of the children in that age group were overweight in 28 of the 30 states included in the study, compared to 11 states in 1989.

In 2000, the prevalence of overweight 2- to 4-year-old children was more than 15 percent in three states and more than 20 percent in two states.

Between 1989 and 2000, the number of underweight children in that age group decreased, the study found.

"In addition, national data representative of the U.S. population also showed increases in overweight prevalence over time, indicating that overweight is a national problem, not a problem exclusively associated with publicly funded programs or low-income," the study authors wrote.

"Overweight is increasing and underweight is decreasing in our study population. We need to expand prevention and intervention efforts to reverse the rising trend of overweight in the United States," the authors said.

Diabetes, gall stones, sleep apnea and high blood pressure are among the health risks faced by overweight children.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has information on how you can help overweight children.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Dec. 6, 2004
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