Obesity among American children is a problem. As long as this trend
continues the accompanying trend of obesity among American adults will
continue, as well. Obese children and adolescents are likely to become
obese adults and that’s about all there is to that.
New evidence shows that children who are obese or overweight between the ages of three to five years are five times more likely to be obese or
overweight when they are adults.
Obese adolescents are more likely to be pre-diabetic. A sample of
five to seventeen year olds showed that obese children had at least one
risk factor for heart disease.
Once these children reach adulthood they face an increased risk for type
2 diabetes, stroke, and a variety of cancers such as cancer of the
breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, gall bladder, thyroid, and prostate.
But now the good news.
The obesity rate among two- to five-year old children has gone down by
43 percent in the last decade.
A Surge Toward Improvement
While there has been some good news regarding a decline in childhood
obesity in the last few years, the latest news is out of the ordinary
and quite impressive. The percentage of obese children between the ages
of two and five years has dropped from 14 percent in 2012 to the current eight percent.
This nose dive is the first good proof that real progress is being made
on some front in the battle against obesity. While researchers are
enthused about the change of events, they remain cautious and wait and
see if the change is sustained.
So What’s the Explanation
While there is no specific explanation at present, there is plenty of
conjecture to go around.
For one thing, children now take in fewer calories from sugared
beverages than they once did. Another change is that more women are
breastfeeding and a healthier range of weight gain is being had by
Tracking of food purchases by Americans shows that families with
children now buy lower calorie foods than they did 10 years ago. An
additional change has come from the funding of the Special Supplemental
Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The program
subsidizes food for low-income women and has reduced the funding for
fruit juices, cheese and eggs, while increasing the funding for whole
fruits and veggies.
It is also suspected that state, federal and local policies meant to
address obesity are proving to be effective.
Time Will Tell
While the scientific community is pleased with the changes, they are not
prepared to take victory laps just yet. It is unclear whether the
decline will be enjoyed by older children--whose rate of obesity in
children ages two to nineteen years has remained constant since 2003.
One third of American adults are still obese as are 17 percent of
the nation’s youth. But the fact remains that there is some undeniable
and encouraging progress.
Living life well-fed,
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Published On: April 09, 2014