Obesity among low-income preschoolers is finally on the decline in 19 states and US territories, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To get its findings, CDC analyzed 12 million 2 to 4-year old children from federally-funded maternal and children nutrition programs in 42 states, DC and 2 US territories (Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico). It found that Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Dakota & VI saw at minimum a 1% decrease in their respective obesity rates. Twenty states and PR held steady and 3 states slightly increased.
The downturn is good news given that previous research showed that about 1 in 8 preschoolers in the United States are obese and obese kids are 5 times more likely to be overweight or obese as an adult if they are overweight or obese between the ages of three and five years.
“Although obesity remains epidemic, the tide has begun to turn for some kids in some states,” said CDC Director, Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “While the changes are small, for the first time in a generation they are going in the right direction. Obesity in early childhood increases the risk of serious health problems for life.”
First Lady Michelle Obama, whose “Let’s Move” initiative has been credited with changing habits among some of the poorest communities chimed in.
“Today’s announcement reaffirms my belief that together, we are making a real difference in helping kids across the country get a healthier start to life,” Michelle Obama. said. “We know how essential it is to set our youngest children on a path towards a lifetime of healthy eating and physical activity, and more than 10,000 childcare programs participating in the Let’s Move! Child Care initiative are doing vitally important work on this front. Yet, while this announcement reflects important progress, we also know that there is tremendous work still to be done to support healthy futures for all our children.”
The CDC director of its Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Janet Collins, Ph.D credited increased healthy eating and physical activity for the results. “We must continue to strengthen and expand proven strategies that help our children live healthier lives by avoiding obesity in the first place,” she said.
For more information about childhood obesity, visit www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood
Copy and share the following infographic on ways to decrease childhood obesity among your kids or kids you know:
|SOURCE: CDC. MMWR. 2009 July; 58(RR-7): 1-26.; AAP, APHA, NCR for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. 2011. nrckids.org; Spear BA, et al. Pediatrics. 2007.|