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Obesity Blamed For Lapse In Child Health

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WASHINGTON, Mar 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. children are only slightly better off today than 30 years ago, with obesity, poverty and suicide attempts higher, researchers said Wednesday.

Childhood obesity is the most widespread health problem facing children in the United States today, according to the Foundation for Child Development's Index of Child Well Being.

The quality-of-life index has risen from its 1975 base of 100 to 105 in 2002. But when obesity is considered, health is 15 percent below 1975 levels, said the Duke University researchers who released the report.

The FCD's index for children between ages 1 and 19 assesses such factors as material well being, health, safety/behavioral risks, productivity or education, place in community, social relationships and emotional/spiritual well being.

Children today were found to be safer, more involved in their communities and reporting lower teenage birth rates than they were in 1975.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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