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Twin Cities conference to address childhood obesity

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Despite a recent drop in obesity rates among Minnesota children, obesity remains a persistent problem among children and adults.

Nationally, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show more than 69 percent of adults are overweight or obese.

Here are some more alarming statistics from the CDC:

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Obesity can lead to all sorts of serious and even deadly health problems.

Research has shown that obese children are at high-risk for cardiovascular disease, prediabetes and sleep problems, among other things. And children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults. They face increased risks for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer.

The Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics plans to address the issue in an upcoming Twin Cities conference. Experts will look at ways to manage and prevent obesity among kids, and discuss how obesity affects different cultural and ethnic groups differently.

Here's how the Minnesota Department of Health defines overweight and obesity:

Overweight refers to increased body weight in relation to height which may or may not be due to increases in body fat. For example, the increase in weight may also be due to an increase in lean muscle. Obesity refers to an excessively high body weight in relation to height. Body mass index (BMI) is used to express the relationship of weight-to-height. BMI is calculated using weight in kilograms and height in meters (i.e., weight/height2). Among youth, BMI is plotted using sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts. These charts generate a percentile relative to growth patterns of children in the United States.

Find out your BMI here: http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bminojs.htm

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