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Delaware's childhood obesity rate hasn't changed

Delaware Public Media

New data shows Delaware’s rate for childhood obesity is holding steady. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual children’s health survey shows 12,400 young people in Delaware ages 10 to 17 are obese. 

The First State’s more than 15 percent childhood obesity rate is on par with recent years and places Delaware tied for the 20th highest rate in the nation. The national rate is two tenths of a percent higher. 

Mississippi had the highest overall youth obesity rate with more than 25 percent and Utah had the lowest, just under 9 percent. 

Dr. Mary Gavin is a pediatric weight management physician at Nemours. She says she’s not surprised by the Delaware data. 

“It’s disappointing that the rates haven’t fallen in Delaware because we as a state have made a lot of efforts towards reducing childhood obesity both in the hospital clinical setting and throughout the state with some of the efforts that we’ve done with some of the health and prevention services at Nemours,” said Gavin.    

Gavin says it’s important to educate expecting parents as healthy pregnancies are important in the development of child obesity. She warns obesity can lead to other health problems. 

“What we’re seeing now is that many children are having more problems that we used to think were mostly adult problems,” she said. “So, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, liver disease has been a significant problem, high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, these are all starting in childhood.” 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study found disparities in childhood obesity continue to persist along racial, ethnic, socio-economic and geographic lines.

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