Childhood Obesity : A Growing Epidemic Within The United States

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Childhood and adolescent obesity is a growing epidemic within the United States, creating significant short and long-term impacts on individual health and placing increased economic burdens on the health care system.1 Over the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled and adolescent obesity has quadrupled, with more than one third of children being overweight or obese in 2012.2 The negative health impacts of childhood obesity include increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease, pre-diabetes, bone and joint pain, sleep disorders including sleep apnea, hypertension, and social/psychological issues.2,3 Furthermore, studies have shown that childhood BMI levels and triceps skinfold thickness (SF) are associated with adult BMI and adiposity, indicating that addressing childhood obesity is critical to reducing obesity and chronic illness in adults.4,5 Obesity levels disproportionately affect minority groups, with Mexican American, or Latino, populations bearing the largest burden. When compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (19%) and Non-Hispanic African American (19%) populations, Latino children show the highest rates of obesity (25%).6 In addition, Latino children have a higher incidence rate of type 2 diabetes and lower levels of physical activity in comparison to the national average in conjunction with higher levels of dietary fat intake and lower levels of fruit and vegetable consumption.7,8 Furthermore, the Latino population is the fastest growing minority

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