Obesity rate in preschoolers may have finally leveled off!

Finally a good news story about the childhood obesity epidemic. An analysis published in the July 24 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicated that “the prevalence of obesity” in “low-income preschool-aged children ages two to four years old . . . increased from 12.4 percent in 1998 to 14.5 percent in 2003, but rose only to 14.6 percent in 2008.”

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In the Washington Post’s The Checkup blog, Rob Stein wrote that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research “suggests the obesity epidemic may have hit a plateau.”

Even so, the effects of the epidemic persist, as “one in seven preschoolers from low-income families in the United States are considered obese,” HealthDay reported.

“The childhood obesity epidemic does seem to be leveling off among children in this group,” explained co-author Laurence M. Grummer-Strawn, PhD. He goes on to say, “For a number of years, we were seeing continuous rises in this obesity epidemic and it looks like over the last five years we have actually seen that rate stabilize.”

He added, “Of course, we are not where we want to be.” And, he’s right. Childhood obesity, as I write about in my best-selling book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, negatively affects a child in every way imaginable – physically, emotionally, and relationally. And, if it’s ever studied, I predict it will be shown to affect our children spiritually.

WebMD reported that “obesity rates continued to be highest among Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives.”

Figures for 2008 indicated that “21.2 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native low-income preschoolers were obese. These were the only two ethnic groups that saw increases in obesity between 2003 and 2008.”

In comparison, “18.5 percent of Hispanic preschoolers were obese, which was similar to 2003 figures.”

In fact, “among ethnic groups, obesity rates were lowest among white preschoolers (12.6 percent), Asians or Pacific Islanders (12.3 percent), and African-Americans (11.8 percent).”

If you want to learn what you and your family can do to prevent or treat childhood overweight or obesity in your family, you kid’s school, or your community, pick up a copy of SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. You can get it here.

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