With childhood obesity numbers on the rise in the U.S., it’s helpful to understand obesity, what contributes to this condition, and how you can help your children reach healthy body mass index (BMI) levels. For answers to each of these questions, Valeriu E. Andrei, M.D., Bariatric Associates P.A. offers a closer look at childhood obesity statistics and other key information.
What is Childhood Obesity?
Childhood obesity is a severe medical condition that affects children and adolescents between the ages of six and 19. When a child or adolescent is obese, they exhibit a BMI at or above the 95th percentile of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) sex-specific growth charts. Many different factors contribute to childhood obesity, such as:
- Physical inactivity
- Community and neighborhood design and safety
- Negative childhood events
Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have more than tripled since the 1970s, with CDC data from 2015-16 showing that nearly one in five school-age children and young people are obese. Obese children are also at risk for health complications later in life, including sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, and more. Let’s take a closer look at some more childhood obesity statistics to get a better idea of how it affects the U.S. population.
Childhood Obesity Statistics
According to a recent CDC report, obesity had a prevalence of 18.5% in children and youth ages two to 19. This means that about 13.7 million young people were obese at this time. Looking at specific subsets of this group, childhood obesity prevalence levels ranged from 13.9% among two- to five-year-olds, 18.4% among six- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Hispanic and non-Hispanic black youth tended to have higher obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Asian youth. Hispanic children had the highest obesity prevalence, totaling 25.8%.
Childhood obesity levels also fluctuated based on socioeconomic status, with prevalence decreasing as the education of household heads increased. Plus, obesity rates among low- and middle-income groups nearly doubled those of the highest income group, showing that socioeconomic status is directly related to childhood obesity. However, this disease is treatable by medical professionals, including Dr. Andrei and his team of medical weight loss experts.
Childhood obesity can be a scary obstacle to your child’s health and difficult to resolve on your own. However, Dr. Andrei and the team at Bariatric Associates P.A. offer several potential solutions.
Their holistic approach to adolescent weight loss management involves a multidisciplinary team that works closely with Saint Barnabas Medical Center. As a part of this plan, Dr. Andrei will evaluate and address your child’s medical, nutritional, social, and emotional needs to determine the best option for them. If your child has been unable to attain a healthy weight through prior diet and exercise, he will likely recommend one of two weight-loss surgeries, including:
- Sleeve gastrectomy, which reduces stomach size from approximately 32 ounces to between eight and 10 ounces
- Gastric bypass, a procedure that minimizes stomach size and creates a bypass between the newly sized stomach and a large portion of the small intestine
No matter which treatment is right for your child, you can rest assured that Dr. Andrei will guide your family every step of the way to better health.
Learn More about Treatment for Childhood Obesity
For more information about help for childhood obesity, schedule a free consultation with Valeriu E. Andrei, M.D., Bariatric Associates P.A. Dr. Andrei is available to answer all your questions and help you make the best decisions for your child. To learn more, contact us today or sign up for one of our seminars.