HYATTSVILLE, Md.The obesity rate for children ages 2 to 5 years dropped 43% in the past decade, marking the largest decline across all age groups and possibly a turning point in the obesity epidemic, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The data, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows obesity prevalence for this age group went from nearly 14% in 2003-2004 to slightly more than 8% in 2011-2012a decline of 43%based on CDCs National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.
We continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping. This report comes on the heels of previous CDC data that found a significant decline in obesity prevalence among low-income children aged 2 to 4 years participating in federal nutrition programs," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. Weve also seen signs from communities around the country with obesity prevention programs including Anchorage, Alaska, Philadelphia, New York City and King County, Washington. This confirms that at least for kids, we can turn the tide and begin to reverse the obesity epidemic."
Researchers are unclear about the reasons behind the decline. However, according to CDC, many child care centers have started to improve their nutrition and physical activity standards over the past few years. In addition, CDC data show decreases in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among youth in recent years. Another possible factor might be the improvement in breastfeeding rates in the United States, which is beneficial to staving off obesity in breastfed children.
Overall, obesity rates have remained unchanged. However, the outlook is hopeful.
I am thrilled at the progress weve made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans," said First Lady Michelle Obama. With the participation of kids, parents, and communities in Lets Move! these last four years, healthier habits are beginning to become the new norm."
Let's Move! was launched in 2010 by the First Lady, to combat childhood obesity. The program calls for initiatives to help parents stay informed about nutrition and exercise, improve the quality of food in schools, make healthy foods more affordable and accessible for families, and increase focus on physical education.