News and potential teaching tools for the new semester.
A new analysis of the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (called NHANES) shows obesity rates among children at alarming but not increasing levels, except for an increase in the top weight category among boys ages 6-19.
“Right now we’ve halted the progress of the obesity epidemic,” said Dr. William H. Dietz, director of the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the disease control centers. “The data are really promising. That said, I don’t think we have in place the kind of policy or environmental changes needed to reverse this epidemic just yet.”
Also reported today, from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, is a 2003 to 2007 increase in children’s obesity rates from 14.8 to 16.4 percent (slightly different age grouping and weight definitions). That report itself offers breakdowns of various indicators by income, race/ethnicity, and other characteristics. And it links to a nice tool for looking at recent data on children’s health and social characteristics and customizing your own results:
Weight status of children based on Body Mass Index for age (BMI-for-age)
Children age 10-17, by Household income level
An illustration of how poverty in the U.S. is associated not with too little calories but too many — which we also charge poor students for in a special school tax, through vending machines, as Jay Livingston points out, while reducing funding for parks and recreation programs. The data utility gives table and graphical output, and state- or regional-level detail, so you can manipulate them yourself.
A federal report based on those data, The Health and Well-Being of Children, has many more indicators, with graphics like these showing how asthma rates and overall health track family income levels.
Poor children’s poor health is one of America’s little rat-race starting-line adjustments.