Several states are reporting a decline in obesity among low income preschool aged children (2-4 years old), but every one in eight young children is still obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that obesity declined for this demographic in 19 of 43 states and territories studied between 2008 and 2011.
Although it is good news, childhood obesity is still a problem for much of America. Children who are overweight or obese are much more likely than normal weight kids to carry weight problems into adolescence and adulthood. Five times more likely, to be exact.
The CDC notes that for decades the obesity rates in low-income preschoolers steadily rose, but began to level off from 2003 to 2008.
The CDC recommends state and local officials get involved to help reduce obesity among young children.
Community involvement that can help fight childhood obesity is vital. Families must have access to healthy and affordable food in their neighborhood. Safe, free drinking water in parks, recreation areas, child care centers and schools is a must.
The CDC also recommends that schools open gyms, playgrounds and sports fields during non-school hours so children can safely play more often. Child care providers should be encouraged to provide nutritious meals and more physical activity in their schedules.
Between 2008 and 2011, obesity rates in low income preschoolers increased in three states and territories and did not change in 21 states and territories.