Massachusetts Saw Recent Drop in Pediatric Obesity

(HealthDay News) – The prevalence of obesity among children <6 years in a Massachusetts cohort was stable from 1999–2003, and decreased from 2004–2008, according to a study published online April 23 in Pediatrics.

Xiaozhong Wen, MD, PhD, from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from well-child visits from 36,827 children visiting a multisite pediatric practice in eastern Massachusetts from 1999–2008. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2000 gender-specific growth charts were used to define obesity as weight-for-length ≥95th percentile for children aged <24 months and body mass index ≥95th percentile for children aged 24 to <72 months.

The researchers found that the prevalence of obesity was stable in boys and girls from 1999–2003. The obesity prevalence decreased substantially among both boys and girls from 2004–2008. This decline was more evident among children insured by non-Medicaid health plans than among those insured by Medicaid.

“Among children aged <6 years at this multisite pediatric practice, obesity prevalence decreased during 2004–2008, which is in line with national data showing no increase in prevalence during this time period,” the authors write.

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