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More children are extremely obese

March 18, 2010 |  1:07 pm

A study of Southern California children enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente health plan shows that extreme obesity is not a rare occurrence. The survey of more than 710,000 children ages 2 to 19 found 7.3% of boys and 5.5% of girls were extremely obese. That's about 45,000 children in this study group alone. Extreme obesity is defined as having a body mass index of more than 35. Obesity is defined as a BMI of more than 30, so these children are significantly heavier than that.
 
The survey found that 12% of black teenage girls and 11.2% of Hispanic teenage boys had extreme obesity. The authors of the study, from Kaiser Permanente, warn that this level of obesity often continues into adulthood and carries many health risks.
 
"Our focus and concern is all about health and not about appearance," a co-author of the study, Dr. Amy Porter, said in a news release. "Children who are morbidly obese can do anything they want -- they can be judges, lawyers, doctors -- but the one thing they cannot be is healthy."
 
The study was released Thursday in the Journal of Pediatrics. For more information on a healthy weight, visit the Partnership for a Healthier America and Kaiser Permanente. Information on how to calculate BMI can be found at this website at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
-- Shari Roan

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