More Extreme Youth Obesity as Overall Obesity Stabilizes
The overall rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. appears to be stabilizing, but the prevalence of extreme obesity among children and teens continues to rise, according to an analysis of national data. From 1999 to 2012 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database, severe obesity increased from 3.8 percent to 5.9 percent in the 2- to 19-year-old age group and the prevalence of even more extreme obesity increased from 0.9 percent to 2.1 percent, wrote Asheley Cockrell Skinner, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in JAMA Pediatrics.
Researchers used a definition of "severe obesity" recommended by the American Heart Association as a body mass index (BMI) greater than 120% of the 95th percentile for age and sex or a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or greater, whichever was lower. Their definition of a more extreme obesity, considered class 3 obesity in adults, was a BMI greater than 140% of the 95th percentile for age and sex or a BMI greater than or equal to 40 kg/m2.