Obesity has increased in children

CHICAGO (AP) — Hold the french fries and turn off the television. A new study confirms the need for more young people to do just that.
The study, published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics, tracked 11,654 people in a Louisiana town. The researchers found that the rate of those overweight from ages 5 through 24 has doubled over 20 years.
Among the youngest group — from ages 5 to 14 — 15 percent were overweight in 1973, compared with 32 percent in 1994 at the end of the study. Those examined in 1994 were an average 7.48 pounds heavier than their earlier counterparts.
The largest average weight increase — 12.3 pounds — was in the middle group; those from ages 15 to 17. Fifteen percent were overweight in 1973, compared with 30 percent in 1994.
In the oldest age group, — 19 to 24 –15 percent were overweight at the start of the study and 26 percent at the finish, with the latter 8.3 pounds heavier than the earlier subjects.
Numerous other studies have documented an increase in overweight U.S. schoolchildren and adults, the authors note. All point to diet, lack of activity and increased television viewing as probable culprits.
Overweight children have an increased risk of being overweight adults and developing heart disease and respiratory ailments, among other conditions.