World Bulletin / News Desk
The study found that three decades of rising childhood obesity continued through 2016. In 2016, 35.1 percent of American children aged 2 to 19 were overweight, a 4.7 percent increase from 2014.
The study found that 41.5 percent of youth between 16 and 19 years old were overweight in 2016. The rate of obesity for young boys aged 2 to 5 was 14.2 percent in 2016, an 8.5 percent increase from two years prior. Obesity for teenage girls aged 16 to 19 also spiked from 35.6 percent in 2014 to 47.9 percent in 2016.
The increasing rates of obesity in small children were especially worrying for the researchers, who worked out of Duke University and Wake Forest University. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.
“About four years ago, there was evidence of a decline in obesity in preschoolers,” said lead author Asheley Cockrell Skinner of Duke University in a statement.
“It appears any decline that may have been detected by looking at different snapshots in time or different data sets has reversed course. The long-term trend is clearly that obesity in children of all ages is increasing.”
In recent years, there has been some statistical evidence that surging rates of childhood obesity had calmed. The new research based off of 2016 body-mass index (BMI) data for 3,340 children in the U.S. shows this does not seem to be the case. The researchers also looked at data spanning back to 1999 that cumulatively included more than 30,000 children.
"Despite some previous reports, the obesity epidemic has not abated," author Sarah C. Armstrong, also of Duke University, said in a statement.
"This evidence is important in keeping the spotlight shined on programs to support healthy changes. Obesity is one of the most serious health challenges facing children and is a predictor for many other health problems. When we see that leveling off, we can become complacent – we can't afford to do that.”