U.S. kids outweigh Canadian kids, says study

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CNN – If children in the United States and Canada faced off against each other in an international episode of “The Biggest Loser,” it would not look good for the U.S.

Rates of obesity among children and teenagers in the U.S. have increased substantially more than in Canada since the late 1970s, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S. is well known, this report shines a light on how we compare to our neighbors to the north, said Cynthia L. Ogden, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the new study.

The report found that, whereas the obesity rate among children between 3 and 19 was about 5% in both the U.S. and Canada in the late 1970s, it rose to 17.5% in the U.S. by 2012 and only 13% in Canada by 2013. However in both countries, the rates have leveled off in the last 10 years.

In recent years, the difference was most stark among girls between 7 and 12, of whom 19% were obese in the U.S. (2012) compared to 9% in Canada (2013).

There did not seem to be a difference among children ages 3 to 6 or teenagers 13 to 19 between the two countries. However, the study authors pointed out that a lack of sufficient data may account for that part of the result.

The study did not look into what could be accounting for the large spread in obesity prevalence. “Now I am hoping we will have a chance to make comparisons between dietary and physical factors between the two countries,” Ogden said.