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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Obesity Rising Among Asian Children

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Obesity (having a BMI above the 95th percentile) is associated with other health problems including heart disease, strokes and Type 2 Diabetes, making obesity a serious concern for most parents. Until recently, Asian children were the least likely to be obese, but a recent announcement from the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (AANCART) suggests Asian Americans have the fastest growing rate of overweight and obese children.

So much so in fact, that the First 5 California program has launched an awareness campaign directed at the Asian American community, which may be less physically active, more home-oriented, and more screen-oriented than other groups. Schools may not be focused on P.E., and kids may be enrolled in after school enrichment programs that are not active, making for long periods of time when kids and teens are sedentary instead of being physically active.

Another concern is that Asian American teens seem to consume more fast food than their white counterparts according to the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS, 2005), which reported that 43% of Asian teens eat fast food daily. Obesity is an issue for everyone, and making healthy activity and eating choices young may prevent illness later in life. It is never too young to start teaching kids about nutrition and making physical activity a part of your family life.

Photo credit: wEnDaLicious
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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