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Weight Study of Overweight Children
Child Obesity in New York City
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Study of Overweight Children

Following a municipal weight study showing that 43 percent of children enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade in New York City's public schools are overweight or obese, Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden called the numbers "alarming," especially because obesity puts children at greater risk for a number of chronic health conditions, including diabetes.

"We're in the midst of an epidemic of obesity and diabetes," he said.

Addressing the fact that the city has a higher percentage of obese children than the national average, Frieden said the CDC data is 3 years old and New York has a higher number of Hispanic and black children, who have a higher rate of obesity.

The survey found that 31 percent of Hispanic children in the city and 23 percent of black children were obese, compared with 14 percent of Asians and 16 percent of whites.

Overweight is defined as being above a healthy weight, while obesity involves an excessively high amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass. To determine whether participants in the survey were of normal weight for their height, the nearly 3,000 school-age children were measured and their body-mass index, or BMI, was determined.

While the numbers vary for children depending on their age, in adults a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese; those between 25 and 30 are considered overweight.

Frieden praised the education department's decision to make food offered in schools more nutritious. He said his department is also working with schools to increase physical activity during recess and gym class. And he urged parents to boost physical activity at home while cutting down calories by reducing soft drinks and fast food and offering healthy snacks instead.

For previous page, see Overweight Kids

Source: Washington Post, July 11th 2003

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