May 9, 2020 - Health

CDC: Nearly 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. are obese

Cooler full of sugary sodas
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Experts had hoped childhood obesity was declining, but the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. are obese, AP reports.

Why it matters: Obesity is one of the nation's leading health care problems and can put kids on a path to heart disease and diabetes. Adult obesity is also on the rise in the U.S.

  • Eating processed foods, drinking sugary beverages and a lack of enough exercise contribute to childhood obesity.

By the numbers: The latest data comes from surveys conducted between 2017 and 2018, including more than 2,800 children, per AP.

  • 19.3% of kids ages 2 to 19 were characterized as obese, up from 18.5% in the 2015-2016 survey.
    • But, but, but: The increase isn't statistically significant so there's a chance the rate didn't actually rise.
  • Nearly 6% of kids are severely obese, which has been the trend for several years.

What to watch: The coronavirus lockdown is keeping kids across the country home as schools are closed. Young people may spend their days indoors with little to no exercise, whereas many have gym class or recess in school.

Go deeper: How Latin America took on childhood obesity

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