By XINJUAN DENG
Capital News Service
LANSING – Programs to curb childhood obesity would be more effective if they were gender-specific, researchers say. Childhood obesity has tripled in the last decades, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is worse, Michigan ranks above the national average, with 12 percent of children considered obese. But if overweight and obese are combined, those numbers jump to 26 percent of girls and 35 percent of boys, according to Kids Count, a data center that tracks the status of children by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “The best way to target healthier behaviors may be to have a different message geared toward boys and girls,” said Elizabeth Jackson, assistant professor of medicine at University of Michigan Health System.