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Soz Praventivmed. 2003;48(3):168-77.

Alarming trends in pediatric overweight in the United States.

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Center for Weight and Health, College of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley, USA.



A comprehensive review of the pediatric overweight literature was undertaken to examine secular changes in the prevalence of pediatric overweight, the current magnitude and scope of pediatric overweight, and the identity of high-risk groups in the U.S.


Articles published in the last two decades and studies of nationally representative numbers of children were highlighted.


An unprecedented three-fold increase in the prevalence of pediatric overweight has occurred in recent decades in the U.S. and evidence suggests that this trend is continuing unabated. While no sociodemographic or racial group has escaped this trend, particularly at risk are African American girls, Hispanic girls and boys, and children from low-income house-holds.


The rising prevalence of pediatric overweight in the U.S. is a harbinger of increases in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and numerous other health problems. Furthermore, disparities in pediatric overweight along ethnic and socio-economic lines are expected to further exacerbate current disparities in rates of chronic disease. Strategies and programs to prevent overweight among children are urgently needed.

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