Few health conditions affect as many Americans as obesity, with an estimated 23 million children who were either overweight or obese in 2004. In the preceding 3 decades, the prevalence of obesity, defined as a BMI greater than the 95th percentile for age and gender, increased dramatically from 5% in the 1970s to 17% at the turn of the century. While certain subgroups, such as Mexican American boys and African American girls, have been disproportionately affected (25.5% and 29.2%, respectively), all ages, both genders, and all socioeconomic groups have experienced the impact of this epidemic. The impact of this trend includes increased risk of developing a host of comorbid conditions both in childhood and as the obese children become adults.

Childhood obesity is associated with developing ...

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