Obesity rates fell among U.S. preschool-age children in 2010, reversing a trend of the past decade, according to the first national study to spot a decline in the condition among young kids.
The rate of obese 2- to 4-year-olds from low-income families dropped 1.8 percent in 2010 from 2003, while it fell 6.8 percent for those who were extremely obese, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a research letter published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers attributed the decline to greater awareness of health problems caused by obesity as well as an increase in breastfeeding, which studies have shown can reduce the risk. Obesity even at such a young age can set up children for diabetes, heart disease and even premature death, said Heidi Blanck, a study author.
“We’ve flipped from going up to really now showing a decrease,” Blanck, acting director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the Atlanta-based CDC, said in a Dec. 21 telephone interview. “It’s a modest decrease but at least we’ve changed the direction. We’re optimistic that with recent investments and recent initiatives we’ll continue to see these numbers decline.”
I can remembering seeing a 4 year old on her way to preschool with a 16 oz Coke in the drink holder on the outside of her cartoon character lunchbox. this was two years ago.
Maybe the message is finally getting out there.