Over the past decades there has a been a growing trend in childhood obesity rates in the United States and according to the latest study, there has no been reversal in the rise.
In 2013-2014, 33.4 percent of children aged two to 19 were overweight, and 17.4 percent of those were obese, said the findings in the journal Obesity.
‘4.5 million US children and adolescents have severe obesity and the rising trend seems to be the same without any improvement.’
"Despite some other recent reports, we found no indication of a decline in obesity prevalence in the United States in any group of children aged two through 19," said lead author Asheley Skinner, an associate professor at Duke University's Clinical Research Institute.
"This is particularly true with severe obesity, which remains high, especially among adolescents."
The findings are based on an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey.
The rates documented in 2013-2014 "were not statistically different than those from the previous reporting period of 2011-2012," said the report.
Meanwhile, the prevalence of severe obesity -- meaning the ratio of height and weight that makes up the ratio known as body mass index (BMI) was 35 or greater -- rose among overweight youth.
"Among all overweight youngsters in the 2012-14 reporting period, 6.3 percent had a BMI of at least 35," up from 5.9 percent in the previous reporting period, said the report.
"Another 2.4 percent of those had severe obesity, defined as class III, which was consistent with an adult BMI of 40 or more," compared with 2.1 percent in the earlier report.
In other words, some 4.5 million US children and adolescents have severe obesity, "and they will require new and intensive efforts to steer them toward a healthier course," Skinner said.
"Studies have repeatedly shown that obesity in childhood is associated with worse health and shortened lifespans as adults."
Obesity among adults is also high in the United States. More than one-third (34.9 percent or 78.6 million) of US adults are obese, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.