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Doctors examine obesity in the young

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PHILADELPHIA, Sep 06, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Researchers at a Philadelphia hospital have found that children who use community health centers are more likely to be overweight.

Another study at Children's Hospital finds that pre-schoolers who live in unsafe neighborhoods watch more television than those in safe neighborhoods but get just as much outdoor playtime and are no more likely to be overweight.

Dr. Nicholas Stettler and his colleagues tracked almost 2,500 children aged 2 to 11 at 30 community health centers in the mid-Atlantic region, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. They found that the obesity rate was higher than average at 27 of the health centers.

They found that 22 percent of the younger children were overweight compared to 10 percent in the general population. For older children, 24 percent in community health centers were overweight compared to 16 percent in the general population.

Dr. Hillary Burdette said her study was the first to examine neighborhood safety and TV viewing in young children. She said that while lots of TV time does not appear to be linked to obesity as it is in school-age children TV habits tend to get established early in life.

Both studies were published in the September issue of Pediatrics.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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