MINNEAPOLIS - A new report from Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota shows childhood obesity is on the rise with nearly 1 in 4 Minnesota kids overweight or obese.
Researchers say the epidemic is especially burdening minority groups, even more in Minnesota than compared to the rest of the nation.
"In our clinic, I would say that is 30 to 35 percent of the kids we see are overweight or obese because we draw from a different ethnic group," said Dr. Julie Boman, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Minneapolis.
Boman credits the rising rates among her Latino patients to what she calls an unintentional consequence. She says families she's working with came to Minnesota to offer more for their kids.
"Parents are busy working one or two jobs so I think the business and stress of the lifestyle have something to do with it," she said. "The need for fast, convenient food, trying to struggle all that on a budget and sometimes fast food is cheap."
Researchers say fewer than one in five Minnesota kids eat the recommended five fruits and vegetables per day. And, more than one in three Minnesota kids do not eat meals with their families.
"We teach the plate method so half their plate must be fruits and vegetables," Boman said.
She says healthy habits require early intervention. She does not recommend watching television for children under age two. She also says to turn your kids on to any type of physical activity, preferably an hour a day.
As part of the study, "Starting Early to Prevent Childhood Obesity," doctors recommend fighting obesity early on by breastfeeding until 6 months, tracking Body Mass Index from the age of 2, and even getting more sleep.
The report says on average, Minnesota kids get up to an hour of less sleep than they did 20 years ago, especially among children under age 3.
Boman hopes the fight can begin not just in her office, but at kitchen tables today, especially since poor diets spark an increase in disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
The national increase in Type 2 Diabetes among children has also hit Minnesota. Today, nearly one in six kids ages 12-19 has diabetes (Types 1 or 2) or pre-diabetes.
Beyond Minnesota, researchers found that while the obesity rate has doubled among adults, it has tripled among children. One in six children age 2 to 19 is now obese; a rate three times higher than it was in 1980.
In Minnesota, 23.1 percent have weight problems. Among Minnesota adolescents ages 10-17, 11.1 percent are obese.
Read more about the report at www.childrensmn.org/web/voice4child/203356.pdf.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)