Data have shown that childhood obesity rates are on the decline among low-income preschoolers in some states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) observed reduced obesity rates in 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands from 2008 to 2011. The researchers looked at the weights and heights of about 11.6 million children ages two to four who were involved in federally funded maternal and child nutrition programs. The bad news: Obesity rates stayed the same in 21 of the 43 states and territories surveyed, and went up in three states.
Although obesity remains epidemic, the tide has begun to turn for some kids in some states. While the changes are small, for the first time in a generation they are going in the right direction.
Overall, childhood obesity rates have remained fairly level after more than tripling since the early 1980s. Public health experts hope that the new findings represent a shift in the way parents are monitoring their children’s health. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of the decline, but it may show the promise of recent campaigns to help parents improve the diet and exercise routines of their children.