Is the Childhood Obesity Epidemic Starting to Shrink?

Written by Marjorie C Picard

It sure does look that way.  No sharp decline, but hope is on the horizon.

According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), "Although obesity remains epidemic, the tide has begun to turn for some kids in some states.  While changes are small, for the first time in a generation, they are going in the right direction."

In a study conducted between 2008 and 2011, CDC researchers weighed and measured tots ages 2-4 in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  There were 12 million kids in the study.  They were low-income participants in federally-funded maternal and child nutrition programs. 

Statistics were given by state:

One in eight preschoolers is obese.  An obese child ages 3 to 5 is five times more likely than the average-weight child to become an obese adult,  who will most likely be burdened with medical complications. 

So what is going on?  Why the good news?

Here are some possibilities, according to the researchers:

"Many states have taken action to incorporate healthy eating and more activity," says Dr. Frieden.  "We should continue to help kids avoid obesity in the first place."  The CDC encourages local and state officials to join with business leaders, childcare providers, medical providers, and others for the effort.

Government programs such as these have received much criticism for being intrusive into people's lives.  Clearly, these federal efforts are positive.

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Image courtesy of imagemajestic, FreeDigitalPhotos.net