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Number of Severely Obese Children in U.S. Doubles

A new study looks at how the expanding waistlines of our nation's heaviest children impacts their health.

A new study says obesity rates in children appear to be holding steady, but the number of the most severely obese children in the U.S. has more than doubled since 1999, according to a study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. 

The numbers climbed from less than one percent in the late '90's to a little more than two percent by 2012.  

Children are considered obese if they are above the 95th percentile in height and weight for their age. 

For example, a 10-year-old-boy of average height - about 4 and a half feet tall - is obese at 95 pounds.

He is considered severely obese at 135 pounds. 

Obese children are more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They're also at risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and psychological problems due to poor self-esteem.

Studies show obese children and adolescents are likely to remain obese as adults.

Experts estimate an obese child will incur $12,000 to $19,000 more in health care costs over a lifetime than a child of a normal weight. 


(Melisa Raney for CNN's Health Minute)  

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