LOS ANGELES — Several years into a campaign to get kids to eat better and exercise more, child obesity rates have appeared to stabilize, and might reverse. But a study published this week in the journal PNAS suggests that among adolescents, the hopeful signs are limited to those from better-educated, more affluent families. Among teenagers from poorer, less well-educated families, obesity has continued to rise.
Nationally, rates of obesity among adolescents ages 12 to 19 did not rise between from 2003 to 2004 and 2009 to 2010. But during those times, obesity rates among adolescents whose parents have no more than high-school educations rose from about 20 percent to 25 percent. At the same time, the obesity rates for teenage children of parents with four-year college degrees or more fell from 14 percent to about 7 percent.