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National obesity rates for older kids steady, Kansas better than average

On Thursday, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a new report entitled State of Childhood Obesity: Helping All Children Grow up Healthy. The numbers are at least staying steady for now.

“Nationwide, we have 4.8 million young people between the ages of 10 and 17 who have obesity,” said Jamie Bussel, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The overall obesity rate for this group is 15.3%. That remains relatively steady over the last few years.”

In Kansas, the number is a bit better than average.

“For children ages 10 to 17, it’s 12.2%, ranking Kansas 13th,” said Bussel.

As you drill down deeper into the numbers, the picture becomes more murky.

“Despite us seeing a steady rate over the last few years, we continue to see some pretty persistent and deep disparities around Black and Hispanic youth being more likely to have obesity than their White or Asian counterparts,” said Bussell. “In addition, kids who live in lower-income households are at higher risk than those in higher-income households.”

Three states had obesity rates that were statistically significantly higher than the national rate, Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky, while six states had obesity rates statistically significantly
lower than the national rate, Utah, Minnesota, Alaska, Colorado, Montana and Washington.

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