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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Halting the Epidemic of Childhood Obesity

item Butte, Nancy
item Ellis, Kenneth

Submitted to: Obesity Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 14, 2003
Publication Date: December 31, 2003
Citation: Butte, N.F., Ellis, K.J. Halting the epidemic of childhood obesity. Obesity Research. 11:A83, 2003.

Interpretive Summary: Not required for an abstract.

Technical Abstract: The prevalence of overweight in U.S. children is increasing at alarming rates. We present data on changes in energy balance required to halt the epidemic in children. We measured 1-year weight gains and estimated energy storage from body weight and composition measurements using DXA in 337 normal-weight and overweight Hispanic children, mean age 11.9 ± 3.6. Median 1-year weight gain, energy storage and the required change in energy expenditure relative to energy intake to restore energy balance (energy deficit or gap) are presented. Median weight gain in overweight children was 16 lb/y (range -12 to 39 lb/y). Some children converted to overweight gaining 15 lb/y. Based on 3500 kcal/1 lb gained and energetic efficiency of 50%, a deficit of 342-502 kcal/d would be required to prevent further weight gain in 90% of the overweight children. Based on changes in body composition at 0.19 g protein/g fat-free mass, 5.6 kcal/g protein and 9.25 kcal/g fat gained, and energetic efficiencies of 85% for fat and 42% for protein storage, a deficit or energy gap of 204-263 kcal/d would be required to prevent further weight gain in 90% of the overweight children. Closing the energy gap in children cannot be achieved with small changes in diet and/or physical activity. Halting the epidemic of childhood obesity will require a significant and concerted societal effort to change the way our children are eating and increase their physical activity. 1-year weight gain and energy storage in Hispanic children BMI status at N Weight Energy Energy Energy Energy beginning and Gain Storage Deficit Storage Deficit end of year (lb/y) kcal/d) kcal/d)1 (kcal/d)2 kcal/d)2 Normal/Normal 141 9(16)* 75(137) 150(274) 45(108) 64(135) Normal/Overwt 19 15(20) 133(171) 267(342) 104(164) 130(204) Overwt/Overwt 167 16(29) 144(251) 288(502) 113(203) 144(263) Overwt/Normal 10 -1(12) -13(100) -25(201) -7(31) -9(45) *Median (90th percentile); 1Energy storage based on 3500 kcal/lb; Energy deficit based on 50% efficiency. 2Energy storage based on body composition changes; Energy deficit based on 85% and 42% efficiencies for fat and protein deposition.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014