Atlanta — Newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report obesity prevalence among children between the ages of two to five years old decreased 43 percent between 2003 to 2004 and 2011 to 2012. The study was published in the February 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, says: “We continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping. This confirms that at least for some kids, we can turn the tide and begin to reverse the obesity epidemic.”
Based on the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, the rate of obesity in these children fell from 13.9 percent in 2003 to 2004 to 8.4 in 2011 to 2012. In addition, the CDC reports that a comparison of NHANES data gathered in 2009 to 2010 and again in 2011 to 2012, found obesity prevalence in this age group declined from 12 percent to eight percent. Equally significant, the decline was seen across 19 states and U.S. territories.
Although the study did not look at the reasons for the decline in these children, data suggest children enrolled in federal nutrition programs and daycare centers offering physical activity programs are benefiting from participation. In addition, improved breastfeeding rates in the U.S. have been credited for the improvement.
This demographic was the only one to show a significant decrease in obesity prevalence among youths or adults.