A February study in the journal Pediatrics debunked reports that childhood obesity rates were leveling off or in decline. In fact, the study found that despite substantial efforts to curb the epidemic in recent years, obesity rates have increased for every demographic—especially preschool children and adolescent girls. Moreover, the study cited a substantial rise in severe obesity in children.
Nearly 20% of children have obesity, and it is severe in 7% of girls and 9% of boys, the study said. Hispanic children are most affected; nearly half have excess weight or obesity, and 16% have severe obesity. Clearly, we must do much more to help children and parents adopt diets and activities that address the health risks of childhood overweight and obesity.