July 21, 2014, Reuters
By Kathryn Doyle
After rising steadily for more than 10 years, the proportion of U.S. kids defined as obese due to a large waist circumference held steady [from] 2003–2012, according to a new analysis of national data.
The new results echo recent studies that found the increase in U.S. obesity rates has slowed over the past several years.
“Even though the trends were flat across the years, the prevalence of abdominal obesity is still too high,” said senior author Lyn M. Steffen, from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.
Abdominal obesity refers specifically to “visceral fat,” or the fat that accumulates around the midsection. This can be measured by waist circumference or by a waist-to-height ratio.
Using biennial data from a nationwide health and nutrition study, Steffen and her co-authors found that about 18 percent of kids ages 2 to 18 were obese based on their waist circumference in 2011 and 2012, very close to the rate in 2003 and 2004. Continue reading