By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

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More American children are obese than Canadian children, according to a report released Tuesday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The prevalence of childhood obesity is 17.5 percent in the U.S. compared with 13 percent in Canada, the report said. Although the countries had similar obesity rates of about 5 percent in the late 1970s, the U.S. has topped Canada in childhood obesity for more than a decade.

About one in three American children and teens is overweight or obese, according to the American Heart Association. As a result, many of them may also struggle with high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or elevated blood cholesterol levels. Excess weight at a young age has also been linked to earlier death rates in adulthood.

Researchers compared data among children ages 3 to 19 from the 2009-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and the 2009-2013 Canadian Health Measures Surveys.

Among 3- to 19-year-old American girls, 16.7 percent were obese compared with 10.4 percent of their Canadian counterparts. Among boys in this age group, 18.3 percent Americans were obese compared with 15.5 percent Canadians.