The CDC has been warning Americans for decades about the alarmingly increasing rate of childhood obesity, as well as the risks. However, finally, there is some good news to report on the battle. In a new report, the CDC has said that Americans are finally making progress in the battle against childhood obesity in the youngest children in the nation, especially in those that come from lower income levels.
Using data from about 12 million children that range in age from two to four whose parents chose to participate in federally funded healthy eating programs, researchers were able to determine the childhood obesity rates in 40 states, inlcuding the US Virgin Islands, Washington and Puerto Rico.
The US Virgin Islands, and 19 other states showed a significant, but still small decrease in the obesity rates of preschoolers between 2008 and 2011. Three of the states that were examined actually noted a slight increase over the same period of time, They were Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Colorado. The rest of the states stayed about the same. States that were not included in the report were left out because of changes and inconsistencies in the way that data was recorded.
About one in eight preschoolers in the US is considered obese, the CDC report says. The numbers go up when Hispanic and African American populations are examined. At about one in six and one in five, respectively.
When kids are obese or overweight as preschoolers are at as much as five times more at risk of being obese or overweight when they are adults. This risk can increase the risk of developing health issues including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as cancer.
Over the past few years, government programs including the program Let’s Move! by the first lady have been working to encourage child care providers to provide more opportunities to play outside, reduce time in front of television and other technological devices, and serve vegetables and fruit with each meal. They have also been trying to eliminate sugary drinks and fried foods from the diets of young children. Although the CDC cannot prove these programs are working, some feel that it’s clear that there has been some kind of change.
Other, smaller studies have found declines that are similar in other child populations, but this is the biggest data system in existence throughout the nation. The CDC seems confident that the reduction found in 19 states are a sign of a national trend.
Among preschoolers that came from low-income families, obesity rates climbed steadily between 1990 and 2007 at almost 15 percent. Since then they have flatlined, and this is the first sign of a positive improvement.