Childhood Obesity on Slight Decline

After steadily rising for decades and peaking in 2007, the obesity rate among preschoolers is on the decline in 18 states. Only three states reported an increase.

Childhood obesity is on the decline as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release a report the shows obesity rates fell in 18 states.

According to new data from the CDC, obesity rated increased slightly in just three states: Pennsylvania, Colorado and Tennessee. Colorado actually has the lowest prevalence of obesity among adults, according earlier CDC data. In 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, there was no change.

“Although obesity remains epidemic, the tide has begun to turn for some kids in some states,” Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, said in a statement. “While the changes are small, for the first time in a generation they are going in the right direction. Obesity in early childhood increases the risk of serious health problems for life.”

According to the CDC, children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are five times as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults and suffer lifelong physical and mental health problems.

From 2008 to 2011, the obesity rates in low-income preschoolers finally showed small declines in many states. However, still, one in eight preschoolers is obese in America.

In 1990 the obesity rate among low-income preschoolers was 10%, the rate peaked at 14.9% in 2007 and now the obesity rate is at 14.4%

“Many of the states in which we’re seeing declines have taken action to incorporate healthy eating and active living into children’s lives,” Janet Collins, PhD, director of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, said in a statement. “We must continue to strengthen and expand proven strategies that help our children live healthier lives by avoiding obesity in the first place.”