The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Tuesday the results of a study on childhood obesity, and there’s some good news: In 19 of the 43 areas (that’s 40 states, D.C., and two territories) that were studied, obesity declined among preschoolers from low-income families. But that’s not necessarily something to be celebrated. After all, 12 percent of preschoolers (that’s one in eight) are obese in the United States, and these kids are five times more likely than normal-weight children to be obese or overweight in adulthood. [feature homepage pic: Jan Kruger: Getty Images]
Though the CDC is unclear of the causes of the decline, the report suggests multiple methods that can improve the likelihood of its continuation. And instead of focusing on just the federal government, the CDC provides at-home tips for parents, as well as suggestions for teachers and daycare employees. The simplest tip, of course, begins with good parenting: “Start with a healthy breakfast”. It’s the easiest way parents can set an example for their kids and establish habits that they can follow throughout their childhood and into adulthood.
On a larger scale, the federal government is urged to take the monetary route by providing funding for programs that promote healthy eating and research on the causes and effects of childhood obesity. (For a full list of the suggestions, be sure to check out the CDC’s report). The problem, of course, is that these trends are very unpredictable. The most the CDC can do is educate the masses and hope for this decline to continue and spread throughout the nation. And while the news is undoubtedly encouraging, and a decline in childhood obesity in 19 states demonstrates a shift in the right direction, there’s definite room for improvement. In three states — Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Tennessee — obesity rates among preschoolers are still on the rise, and the rates were stagnant in 21 states.