Big drop in obesity among preschoolers

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HYATTSVILLE, MD – Some folks out there think Michelle Obama’s campaign to get kids moving is just another example of government overstepping its authority. But it might actually be working! Obesity in preschoolers two to five years old has dropped 43% over the last ten years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“There’s an increased attention to improving childhood nutrition,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says, citing possible reasons. “There’s increasing breastfeeding rates. Child cares are doing more physical activity.”

“It’s a great finding, and it contributes to other research that has shown early childhood obesity rates are declining,” says Dr. Daphne Hernandez, a researcher at University of Houston’s Texas Obesity Research Center. “At the same time, we’re not done with the obesity epidemic.”

She’s right! The CDC study shows the change among kids has not carried over to adults. Nearly 35% of them are still weighing in a little heavy. Aw, why sugarcoat it? We’re obese!

“One of the things that struck me (about the CDC study) was that there was an increase in obesity rates among women over the age of 60,” says Hernandez. “The aging population is at greater risk for social isolation. So when you’re socially isolated, you don’t think as much about your nutrition and you can be not as physically active.”

31% of kids, teenaged and younger, are obese or overweight. So what can we do about it? Mrs. Obama has another plan– she wants to rid our schools of ads for unhealthy foods. So no advertising on cups, soda machines or posters. “Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids are not bombarded with ads for junkfood,” the First Lady said Tuesday.

Dr. Hernandez says she think it’s a good idea, but warns not to expect change overnight, “It won’t have an immediate effect. It takes a long time to change behavior, but it is, again, another step in the right direction.”

And if we all start taking a few more of those steps, we might just end obesity forever.