Childhood Obesity Statistics and Trends

History of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has turned out to be a great problem for the United States in the last few years. Statistics shows that up to 33% of people in America are suffering from obesity. These figures include not only children, but also adolescents. Despite the fact that such kind of disease is very easy to identify, lots of difficulties and problems occur while treating it. Such poor situation is a result of junk food and lack of physical activities as well as exercises. All this is to the detriment of Americans’ health and every year more than 300 000 people die because of this disease. In addition it should also be mentioned that every year people spend more than 1 billion dollars for obesity. Modern trends have already proved that children will hardly try to keep fit and stick to a diet. They are more likely to gain extra weight and suffer from obesity.

Moreover recent statistic shows inevitable consequences. Childhood obesity has doubled in comparison with previous years. And those who are more likely to suffer from this disease are children from 2 to 5 years old as well as adolescences from 12 to 19 years old. In addition to these groups there appeared a new one which includes children from 6 to 11 years old. At the moment there are more than 9 million children who suffer from obesity. Obesity has always been great problem for the country. It is very hard to treat and it can influence boys and girls of all ages. There are no exceptions for different races or ethnic groups.

Latest statistics

Obesity and extra weight are common problems for the United States. Despite the fact they have occurred many years ago, they are still to be the most significant health problems for Americans. They have started their vast development since 1980. Children began to suffer from these diseases more often starting from that time.

Needless to say that obesity and extra weight always lead to different kinds of health problems. The problem is that people start suffering from different diseases at their early childhood. As result the number of risk factors is increasingly high. Children are forced to face such problems as cardiovascular disease, which results in high blood pressure and cholesterol, and diabetes. Numerous studies take place. All of them are aimed on finding the most effective treatment for this developing problem. One of these studies has shown, that children who were obese at the age of 10 turn into adults who are still obese even at the age of 25. In other words 80% of people who suffer from extra weight are not able to find the right treatment and also suffer from the lack of physical activity. Other researches have proved the fact that obesity starts before age 8. By the way, according to the latest obesity and extra weight are much greater problems in comparison with smoking. They lead to a bigger number of deaths in the United States.

Figure 1. Children aged 5-17 years who are overweight (including obese)

childhood obesity statistics

These two pictures show us changes in different regions and states. The percentage of obesity decreases in some parts of the United Sates while in other regions its level increased. For example, if we speak about the level of obesity in the South, it was much higher in 2011 (more than 30%). However it decreased in 2012. Nevertheless this number is still very frightening as it is 29.4% at the moment. The opposite situation is in the West. It used to be much better in 2011 in comparison with 2012. Some states reflect the same statistics even throughout more than three years which is not good at all. The central part of the United States shows the best results with the overall percentage less than 25%. However there is no region where the level of obesity falls lower than 15%.

Figure 2. Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults

Alabama 33.0 Illinois 28.1 Montana 24.3 Rhode Island 25.7
Alaska 25.7 Indiana 31.4 Nebraska 28.6 South Carolina 31.6
Arizona 26.0 Iowa 30.4 Nevada 26.2 South Dakota 28.1
Arkansas 34.5 Kansas 29.9 New Hampshire 27.3 Tennessee 31.1
California 25.0 Kentucky 31.3 New Jersey 24.6 Texas 29.2
Colorado 20.6 Louisiana 34.7 New Mexico 27.1 Utah 24.3
Connecticut 25.6 Maine 28.4 New York 23.6 Vermont 23.7
Delaware 26.9 Maryland 27.6 North Carolina 29.6 Virginia 27.4
District of Columbia 21.9 Massachusetts 22.9 North Dakota 29.7 Washington 26.8
Florida 25.2 Michigan 31.1 Ohio 30.1 West Virginia 33.8
Georgia 29.1 Minnesota 25.7 Oklahoma 32.2 Wisconsin 29.7
Hawaii 23.6 Mississippi 34.6 Oregon 27.3 Wyoming 24.6
Idaho 26.8 Missouri 29.6 Pennsylvania 29.1

Let’s have a look at statistics of obesity by state. These numbers are very alarming. The overall percentage in all states is not less than 25% in 2012. It has increased in comparison with the last years and is becoming more and more dangerous. Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas Michigan, Kentucky and South Carolina take leading positions among all other states with the average prevalence of obesity more than 30%. If we take into consideration regions, children in Midwest and South are more likely to suffer from obesity (29.5% and 29.4%) in comparison with the West and the Northeast (25.3% and 25.1%).

Statistics all over the globe

Speaking about worldwide statistics we should say that it is not as precise as possible due to the fact that it is only generally available and it is very hard to gain all necessary data in order to create a worldwide rating of countries, where obesity is also a very serious problem. In addition the situation in European countries does not differ a lot. In other words people in Finland may suffer from obesity and extra weight in the same way as people in Poland or France. Nevertheless these 3 countries take leading positions in this rating. Speaking about the overall list, the USA is in a rather bad position. The level of obesity prevalence comes up to 30%. It can only be compared with such countries as Germany, Mexico and the UK. Children for all over the world are more likely to suffer from obesity at the age of 10-16. However some European countries found it possible to decrease this level and make the percentage of children who are obese really small. These countries include Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden.

Despite the fact that in some countries obesity is not a great problem in comparison with the United States, its worldwide percentage is very alarming. This problem is becoming more and more dangerous and now it is threatening the whole globe. The main reason for such a nasty situation is wrong lifestyle which results in occurring obesity and other health problems.

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