According to U.S. authorities, obesity rates fell roughly 43% over the past 10 years for the nation’s preschool children. Unfortunately, the overall obesity rate remained at high levels due to a significant rise among older Americans, particularly women over 60 years old.
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) analyzed data from 9,000 Americans of all ages. The obesity rate among children 2 to 5 years old fell from 13.9% to 8.4% from 2003 to 2012, representing a 43% drop. Women over the age of 60 saw the biggest increase in obesity rates over this time period.
This study validates an earlier CDC report showing a substantial decrease in obesity rates among children 2 to 4 years old from low-income households participating in federal nutrition programs. Obesity prevention programs in Alaska, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington have all shown success in helping to reverse the U.S. obesity epidemic.
The exact reasons for the drop in obesity rates among preschoolers is not clear, but the CDC points to improved nutrition standards physical activity in child care centers across the nation. Other factors include a reduction in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among young Americans and increased rates of breastfeeding, which has been proven to help obesity in children.
While this study is encouraging, the overall U.S. obesity rate remains at a consistently high level. Only 20% of American adults get enough exercise based on federal government guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. Even a modest decrease in the rate of obesity among older Americans would begin to lower the overall rate nationally. Consult with your healthcare provider for more information about the ideal body weight for you and your children.