Study says 4-Year-Olds Obese: American Indians at Higher Risk

April 7, 2009

(ChattahBox)-The result of a new obesity study just published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, shows an alarmingly high rate of obesity for American four-year old children. Nearly one out of every five children studied were obese, with a greater percentage of obesity, at nearly one-third, for all American Indian children studied. The study was funded by the National Center for Education Statistics, and is a first of its kind study, dealing with obesity rates in preschool children covering five ethnic or racial groups.

The researchers were not expecting to find evidence of obesity differences by race at such an early age. Hispanic and black children also showed an increased rate of obesity. Researcher Sarah Anderson of Ohio State University, found the magnitude of increased obesity rates in ethnic groups alarming, putting these children at increased risk for serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

The study looked at 8,550 preschoolers born in 2001, categorizing those children with a body-mass index of 18 as obese. The complete results of the study showed, 13 percent of Asian children were obese, 16 percent of whites, almost 21 percent of blacks, 22 percent of Hispanics, and 31 percent of American Indians. The study didn’t speculate on the reasons for the ethnic disparities in obesity.

American Indian health officials, working in tribal areas, attribute the increased obesity rate to the common occurrence of diabetes in the American Indian population, combined with a poor diet high in starches and lack of exercise.

The alarming results of this study raises serious implications for the future health of our children.

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