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A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine this week found that 1 in 5 American 4-year-olds is obese. The study, conducted by National Center for Education Statistics, indicates that Native American 4 year olds are twice as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic White or Asian children in the United States. Although obesity was higher among Black and Hispanic children, Native American preschoolers were more overweight than youngsters in other ethnic groups.
According to an Associated Press report, health officials blame genetic differences, a high rate of gestational diabetes among Native American mothers and the federal commodity food program (high in cheap carbohydrates) for this outcome. Other factors including poverty and less educated parents were also cited.
In an interview with AP, Jessica Burger, a nurse with the Little River Ottawa tribe of Michigan noted that exercise may not be a priority among families who are struggling to make ends meet.