American Indian Children Hit Hard by Obesity...

A new study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine claims 1 in 5 Native American preschoolers are obese. Children were considered obese if their body-mass index (BMI) placed them in the 95th percentile or higher on government growth charts. Of the 8,550 participants the rate of obesity among Asians was 13%, whites 16%, blacks 21%, Hispanics 22% and a startling 31% for American Indian children. Researchers cite possible genetic disparities as reason why, but also blame lifestyle issues such as low-income status; the Associated Press reports.

Makes sense, a recent report linked childhood poverty with an 82% higher risk of cardiovascular problems later in life and in February, researchers determined 89% of American preschoolers are not active enough. Not a good combination, especially when you consider weight gain in very young children increases their chances of becoming obese as they mature. Add all that up and you’re in a lot of trouble, no matter what race you are.

Occupation doesn't seem to matter either. Many emergency responder recruits, like ambulance drivers and firemen, are overweight and unable to meet national fitness standards. Even U.S. combat troops in Iraq are getting fat! I still can't believe that.

Image credit: Daleberts

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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Meghan at Making Love In The Kitchen - April 8, 2009 8:44 AM

It's not just the American Indians, but also the Native Canadian population, the Australian Aboriginals and even the African Americans. Take any population and change their diet to one of refined foods, that is so far removed from the diets of their ancestry and disease begins to build- so proved the work of Dr. Weston Price.

Jordan - April 8, 2009 10:17 AM

Meghan,

Are you promoting Dr. Price here..? I'm confused.

Manda - April 8, 2009 11:57 PM

Love you blog, and love the attention to the health issues of emergency responders. As a paramedic, I see this issue daily. A higher than average percentage of medics use tobacco products. We are either sedentary in the station or our rigs, or very active lifting and carrying our (often overweight/obese) patients. Our diets are often made up of food we can buy at a gas station or a fast food restaurant. When we do choose to clean up our diets, we often rely on high animal protein and processed foods. It is rare to find a vegetarian or vegan medic - most are of the 'meat and potatoes' mindset. The Nation Registry of EMTs has actually begun collecting data on the health and weight issues, which is positive. The downside is that the answer will most likely to be to push the standard American moderation, low complex carb diet. I would *love* to see an education outreach to emergency response professionals that shows the evidence based information regarding a plant based diet and overall health.
(p.s. The term 'ambulance driver' is actually an insult to EMTs and paramedics - the advanced knowledge and skills we possess involve much more than simply operating the truck.)

Walter Pittman - April 10, 2009 11:46 PM

It's actually quite amusing that you included a photo of Plains Indians. As you must know, Plains Indians ate almost no vegetables--their diet was almost entirely carnivorous. If they went back to eating buffalo as in the old days, they'd have no diabetes at all.

Just chewing that fat.

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