There s a ray of hope on the horizon about the American obesity epidemic, according to the CDC. Between 2008 and 2011, the prevalence of obesity among low-income preschoolers declined in 19 of the 43 states and territories that were studied.
As the CDC noted, obese children have a five-fold greater chance of becoming obese adults, and thus suffering the well-known health consequences, such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, asthma and diabetes. And the younger a person is when he or she becomes obese, the younger the age at which chronic diseases such as diabetes occur.
Approximately twelve percent of preschoolers are currently obese even worse, among black children the obesity rate is 19 percent, and it s 16 percent of Hispanic children between two and five years old. So the declining trend in obesity among this age group in some jurisdictions is certainly welcome news.
Unfortunately, the improvement in obesity rates was not universal. According to the CDC s statistics, in three of the states and territories, obesity rates increased slightly among low-income preschoolers, while they remained constant in 21 of the 43 states and territories.
It s not clear why the decrease was seen in low-income children. Possible causes cited in a New York Times article on the topic included decreases in overall calorie consumption, decreases in sugary beverage consumption, increased activity, and increased prevalence of breast-feeding. In addition, parents have said they recently have become more aware of obesity as a health problem.
Whatever the reason or reasons, noted ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava, it s great to have some positive news about this widespread public health problem. She continued The public health community must continue efforts to educate parents about proper nutrition and activity for young children, as reducing childhood obesity is probably the best way to reduce future obesity levels.