Obesity Trend in Preschoolers Stabilizing

Filed under: In The News, Nutrition: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Research Reveals: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Nutrition: Big Kids, Research Reveals: Big Kids

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U.S. stemming the tide on overweight kids. Credit: Jupiter Images

The battle against childhood obesity may be showing signs of victory. A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the obesity rate among preschoolers has stabilized over the past five years, effecting about one in seven children, reports Reuters and MSNBC.com.

Two million children, ages 2-to-4-years old, were surveyed in 2008 and 14.6 percent were categorized as obese; the results were nearly the same in 2003. The childhood obesity rate remains higher, however, than a decade ago when 12.4 percent of children were obese.

The news is a welcomed sign of hope for the health of the country's children after a devastating photo of a 555-pound 14-year-old named Alexander Deundray Draper was posted on CNN.com last May and South Carolina police arrested the boy's mother for medical neglect. The case ignited ethical debates surrounding the responsibility of parents for their children's weight and Draper became the poster child for the nation's worst fears about childhood obesity.

The CDC notes that campaigns promoting breast-feeding, children's consumption of low-fat and fat-free milk rather than whole milk, and fewer hours spent in front of the TV, may have played a role in the figures stabilizing, reports Reuters. However, Dr. William Dietz, director of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, told Reuters that "we must not become complacent" in efforts to further reduce the childhood obesity rate.

Childhood obesity is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and adult obesity. Approximately one third of adults are obese. Every year, more than 100,000 deaths a year are associated with obesity, reports Reuters. To help ward off obesity, the CDC recommends that children and adults consume greater quantities of water, fruit and vegetables, and decreasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods that are high in fat and sugar.

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