Childhood Obesity in America

It doesn’t take much in these dark times for folk to find cause to celebrate. Todays ‘hell, it could be worse’ story is about childhood obesity. Word is that the number of obese US kids has remained constant since 1999.

To quote from the New York Times article:

“It may be that we’ve reached some sort of saturation in terms of the proportion of the population who are genetically susceptible to obesity in this environment,” Dr. Ogden said. “A more optimistic view is that some things are working. We don’t really know.”

Amidst all this, we learn that “While about 14.5 percent of white adolescent girls were obese, the numbers jumped to 20 percent for Mexican-American teenage girls and 28 percent for black teenage girls.”

I wonder how much genetics can account for the disparity, and how much poor food choices are to do, ultimately with being poor. Consider, for instance, that, according to one source, the poverty rate for blacks in 1998 was 26.1 percent, the rate for Hispanics was 25.6 percent, and for non-Hispanic whites it was 8.2 percent.

That we’ve reached a saturation point is, ultimately, no reason to cheer. And, as one report author notes, “We still lack anything resembling a national strategy to take this problem seriously”.

One cheer for the plateau in obesity, then.