There has also been a lot of news about the health problems linked to obesity. Children have become heavier as well. The percentage of children and teens that are overweight has more than doubled in the past 30 years. However, recent data suggest that the rate of overweight in children did not increase significantly between 1999 and 2008, except in the heaviest boys (BMI for age greater than or equal to the 97th percentile).
This rate, though, remains alarmingly high. Statistics show about 17 percent of American children ages 2 to 19, or 1 in 6, are overweight. Further, the latest data continue to suggest that overweight and obesity are having a greater effect on minorities, including blacks and Mexican-Americans.
Overweight in childhood can add up to health problems, often for life. In adults, overweight and obesity are linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and other chronic conditions. Research has shown that overweight children are at high risk of being overweight or obese as adults.
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Data from the 2005-2006 NHANES survey show that in the United States, nearly 13 percent of adults age 20 and older have diabetes, but 40 percent of them have not been diagnosed.
Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes) accounts for up to 95 percent of all diabetes cases and almost all cases of undiagnosed diabetes. Pre-diabetes, which causes no symptoms, greatly raises the risk of a heart attack or stroke and of developing type 2 diabetes.
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Though rare in youth ages 12 to 19 years, type 2 diabetes is increasingly being seen in children and adolescents, particularly among minority communities. Moreover, the 2005-2006 NHANES data show that about 16 percent of these youth have pre-diabetes. In a recent national study, 58 percent of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes wereoverweight.
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