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Tracking obesity

Data suggest the trend is leveling off

2:57pm, May 27, 2008

The nonstop rise in childhood obesity in the United States is showing the first signs of slackening since the trend took hold more than two decades ago, a new study finds. While promising, the findings also confirm the unsettling reality that one-third of U.S. children remain overweight or obese and face a heightened risk of medical problems as a result.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the new determination based on health exam data from 8,165 children ages 2 to 19. The researchers found no significant change in the percentage of overweight or obese kids during the years 1999 to 2006. The analysis appears in the May 28 Journal of the American Medical Association.

“We’ve had 25 years of overwhelmingly bad news about childhood obesity,” says David Ludwig, a pediatric endocrinologist at HarvardMedicalSchool and Children’s Hospital in Boston. “This study provides the first glimmer of hope, b

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