(CDC news release) After decades of rising rates, obesity among low-income preschoolers declined slightly in 19 states and U.S. territories from 2008 through 2011, according to the latest Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report found that Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Dakota, and the U.S. Virgin Islands saw at least a one percentage point decrease in their rate of obesity. Twenty states and Puerto Rico held steady at their current rate. Obesity rates increased slightly in three states.
Previous research shows that about one in eight preschoolers is obese in the United States. Children are five 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.”
For the Vital Signs report, CDC researchers analyzed measured weight and height for nearly 12 million children aged two to four years who participate in federally funded maternal- and child-nutrition programs. Forty states and the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories (U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) were included in the report. The data come from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System.
“Many of the states in which we’re seeing declines have taken action to incorporate healthy eating and active living into children’s lives,” said Janet L. Collins, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. “We must continue to strengthen and expand proven strategies that help our children live healthier lives by avoiding obesity in the first place.”
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