Healthy Kids : Slight Decline in Obesity Among Children

By Sabrina Tavernise

The New York Times

A new national study has found modest declines in obesity among 2- to 4-year-olds from poor families, a dip that researchers say may indicate that the obesity epidemic has passed its peak among this group.

The study, by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drew on the height and weight measurements of 27 million children who were part of the federal Women, Infants and Children program, which provides food subsidies to low-income mothers and their children up to age 5.

The study was based on data from 30 states and the District of Columbia and covered the years from 1998 to 2010. The share of children who were obese declined to 14.9 percent in 2010, down from 15.2 percent in 2003, after rising between 1998 and 2003. Extreme obesity also declined, dropping to 2.07 percent in 2010 from 2.22 percent in 2003. The study was published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The declines we're presenting here are pretty modest, but it is a change in direction," said Heidi M. Blanck, one of the study's authors and the acting director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the disease centers.

It is unclear what drove the decline, but Blanck offered hypotheses. Breast-feeding, which often leads to healthier weight gain for young children, has increased since 2000. The percentage of 6-month-olds still being breast-fed increased to 47.7 percent among children born in 2009, up from 34.2 percent among children born in 2000.

(C) 2012 The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Search Site