Good News: Obesity Rates for Indian Country Kids Leveling Off

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The rates of obese and overweight American Indian and Alaska Native children were relatively stable between 2006 and 2015, suggesting that we may be turning the corner in dealing with this serious health threat, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health July 20.

“We’ve been afraid in Indian country that things were bad and just going to get worse when it comes to diabetes and obesity and all kinds of problems that have plagued our communities now for several decades, but 10 years’ worth of data shows that rates of obesity and overweight in AI/AN children are stable,” said Ann Bullock, director of the Indian Health Service Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention and co-author of the study, in a call with reporters.

Childhood obesity is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases including hypertension, coronary heart disease, and some forms of cancer later in life. Obese and overweight children often suffer from emotional and social problems as well.