Department of Pediatrics - General Pediatrics Research

Obesity Epidemiology

Obesity Studies in Children and Adolescents

The national epidemic of childhood obesity is present in our own community, nearly 17% of adolescents across Monroe County as of 1999. This would make obesity one of the most common conditions affecting our children. Significant differences in the rates of obesity within  ethnic racial groups show tremendous disparities as well as differences between urban and suburban residents. The rise in childhood obesity has been accompanied by a sudden rise in a number of obesity related conditions, making childhood obesity a “new morbidity” in primary care practice. These children suffer higher rates of hypertension, sleep apnea, abnormal cholesterol levels, significant musculo-skeletal problems, and type 2 diabetes. This once rare condition was only seen in adulthood however, over the last 2 decades it has increased among adolescents nearly 10-fold. Type 2 diabetes now represents one-half to one-third of all new cases of diabetes among adolescents. Our research has shown that the national rate of central obesity has increased by over 60% among U.S. children and adolescents since the early 1990s. (See press release for additional information.)