Is Childhood Obesity on the Decline?

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • 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.

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    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
    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.    


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    My Bariatric Life


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    Center for Disease Control and Prevention
    The New York Times

Published On: April 09, 2014