According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data obtained in 2011-2012, 17% (12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese. Racial and age disparities exist with higher levels among Hispanic children (22.4%) and non-Hispanic black children (20.2%). As a child ages, the rates of obesity increase: 8.4% of 2-to-5-year-olds, 17.7% of 6-to-11-year- olds, and 20.5% of 12-to 19-year-olds. The CDC has set a body mass index (BMI) percentile for underweight as less than the 5th percentile, a healthy weight as a BMI percentile ranging from the 5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile, overweight as a BMI percentile ranging from the 85th to less than the 95th percentile and obese as a BMI percentile equal to or greater than the 95th percentile. A longitudinal study originating in 2007 tracks the BMI percentiles of children aged 3-to-14-years in Clark County, Arkansas. Each summer children in the treatment and control groups are weighed and have height measured. A BMI and BMI percentile are calculated for each child. The treatment group receives two months of weekly nutrition and physical activity classes as well as parents receive nutrition and physical activity information to implement at home. At the end of the data period, the treatment and control groups are re-assessed. Comparisons are made within and between the groups. Five hundred and forty-five children (262 males and 283 females; 292 Caucasian, 243 African American, 9 Hispanic, 1 Asian) have been followed in the study with an average of 2% of children in the underweight percentile, 49% of children in the healthy weight percentiles and 49% of children in the overweight/obese percentiles. The 2014 summer research resulted in three children in the treatment group moving from the obese to the overweight category, three children moving from the overweight to the healthy weight category, and one child moving from the obese to the healthy weight category.
Morrison, Alex; Heird, Hunter; and Brech, Detri, "Longitudinal Study Tracking the Body Mass Index of Children in Clark County, Arkansas" (2015). Scholars Day. 6.