New research shows that more American kids and teens are obese, compared to Canadian kids and teens.
It turns out that somewhere around 17.5 percent (17.5%) of kids and teens living in the US weight more than they should, whereas just 13 percent (13%) of kids and teens living in Canada weight more than they should. The findings apply to the 3 to 19 age group.
The study was conducted by researchers from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who paired up with Canadian statisticians and epidemiologists to look at childhood obesity rates in the two neighboring countries and compare them.
The results have certainly sparked interest in the scientific community as Americans have many things in common with Canadians – we all speak the same language and share a share a lot of the same culture.
Professor Peter Katzmarzyk, an expert in diabetes and pediatric obesity who works at the Louisiana State University Pennington Biomedical Research Center, offered a statement explaining that that “There are a number of factors that could be contributing to this difference, but no one’s really done a study to uncover what those factors are. It gives us an opportunity to explore why these differences are and maybe lead us to some interventions”.
The statistic is a grim one as obese kids typically grow into obese adults who are in danger of experiencing health problems such as elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But they are also in immediate danger of experiencing social problems such as trouble finding a job, trouble finding a partner and being bullied.
What’s interesting is that the US and Canada had pretty much the same childhood obesity rates in the 1970s – about 5 percent (5%). And not only that, but both countries experienced pretty much the same increase in childhood obesity rates during the 1980s and the 1990s.
But somewhere between then and 2004, obese kids and teens living in the US started to outnumber obese kids and teens living in Canada. The current childhood obesity rate for the US is 16.6 percent (16.6%), whereas the current childhood obesity rate for Canada is 12.4 percent (12.4%).
However, Kristi King, clinical instructor of pediatrics over at the Baylor College of Medicine, offered a statement of her own informing that the difference in childhood obesity rates only becomes visible once kids reach school age.
The experts found that kids in the 3 to 6 age group still have pretty much the same childhood obesity rates. But when the researchers looked at the 7 to 12 age group, they saw that 19.2 percent (19.2%) of the kids living in the US were obese, whereas only 11.8 percent (11.8%) of the kids living in Canada were obese.
Dr. Bruce Lee, Global Obesity Prevention Center director, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, offered a possible explanation. He believes that this dramatic change may be caused by environmental factors
While the United States and Canada have many things in common, they also have differences. Dr. Lee would like to remind everyone that people play, work and live within a specific system, and that the environment around them dictates what they eat as well as the amount of time that they spend moving around or exercising.
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