Severe Obesity in Youth: Increasingly Common?

As many of you know, we’re part of a national team grant designed to gain a better understanding of severe obesity in Canadian children as well as test some novel weight management interventions to improve children’s health and well-being. 

In Canada, we don’t have national surveys that are available to help us determine the prevalence of severe pediatric obesity (that said, one of our team grant projects will examine several provincial data sets in Ontario, which will be a great start).

It’s a different situation in the US. There, several reports have described the stabilization of overweight and obesity in children in recent years. However, for those boys and girls who already have excess weight, surveys have shown that they tend to be gaining additional weight. This pattern has led to an increased prevalence of severe pediatric obesity. Although relatively small in numbers, this trend is concerning since (1) the health consequences of obesity tend to worsen as obesity worsens and (2) successfully managing obesity becomes more challenging as weight and age increase over time.

For a recent, brief article on this issue, which included interviews with Bill Dietz and Asheley Skinner (two leaders in the field), check out the story published recently online at Vox.


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