Study: 1 in 5 4-year-olds is obese

UNDATED (AP) -- A new study suggests almost one in five 4-year-olds in the U.S. is obese. Even more startling, the rate among American-Indians is nearly one in three.

The Ohio State-Temple University study suggests obesity is also more common in Hispanic and African American youngsters. The lead author on the study says the magnitude of differences is larger than expected. Sarah Anderson says it's surprising to see differences by racial groups so early in childhood.

Anderson's co-author says factors explaining the disparities among races include poverty, less educated parents and diets high in fat and calories.

Dr. Glenn Flores also says higher rates of diabetes in American Indians and Hispanics may be genetic.

The study analyzed data from the government's National Center on Educational Statistics, which measured and weighed 8,550 preschoolers born in 2001. The report appears in toady's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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