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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Severe obesity and selected risk factors in a sixth grade multiracial cohort: the HEALTHY study

item Marcus, Marsha
item Baranowski, Tom
item Debar, Lynn
item Edelstein, Sharon
item Kaufman, Francine
item Schneider, Margaret
item Siega-riz, Anna Maria
item Staten, Myrlene
item Virus, Amy
item Yin, Zenong

Submitted to: Journal of Adolescent Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/27/2010
Publication Date: 12/1/2010
Citation: Marcus, M., Baranowski, T., Debar, L., Edelstein, S., Kaufman, F., Schneider, M., Siega-Riz, A., Staten, M., Virus, A., Yin, Z. 2010. Severe obesity and selected risk factors in a sixth grade multiracial cohort: the HEALTHY study. Adolescent Health. 47(6):604-607.

Interpretive Summary: Many children are becoming severely obese, that is children at or above the 99th percentile of body mass index. Little is known about whether these children have more serious health risks. This study presents the percent severely obese and their diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors among the 6365 6th grade students in the HEALTHY study. 6.9% of these children were severely obese (when only 1% would be expected to be in this category). The severely obese children were more likely than all other adiposity groups to have a family history of type 2 diabetes (28.5%); a waist circumference above the 99th percentile (99.5%); insulin resistance (40.0%); low high density cholesterol (16.4%); and high blood pressure (31.6%); but no more likely than the regular obese to have impaired fasting glucose, elevated total cholesterol, elevated low density cholesterol or elevated triglycerides. Severely obese children tend to have greater risks than all the other children for diabetes, and risks similar to other obese children for cardiovascular disease. Interventions are needed early in life to prevent the severe obesity and to reduce their risks for serious chronic diseases.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to document the prevalence of severe obesity and associated risk in the HEALTHY cohort. A total of 6,365 students were assessed at school-based screenings. Results showed that 6.9% of students were severely obese. Severe obesity was associated with elevated cardiometabolic risk and race/ethnicity. Severe obesity is common and requires preventive intervention.

Last Modified: 06/28/2017
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