U.S child obesity rate plummets 43%

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New data suggests significant progress in the last decade in the fight against childhood obesity.

A study focused on younger kids, when eating habits can be established, for better or worse.

It’s a promising sign as communities look to prevent trends that can lead to cancer and heart disease.

Joe Johns has more on the numbers, and changes that could be in store to keep moving forward.

This morning, a big step forward in the battle against childhood obesity.

A new study using federal data says obesity in children between the ages of 2 and 5 has dramatically decreased – over 40 percent in a decade. While exact reasons are unclear – experts say it’s a promising sign.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director, CDC: “There’s increased attention to childhood nutrition. There’s increasing breast-feeding rates. Child cares are doing more physical activity.”

This report comes out just as the first lady’s “Let’s Move” program to improve kids fitness levels and eating habits marks its 4th anniversary.

Michelle Obama: “Some folks even warned me that taking on childhood obesity might be controversial. They thought kids and parents should deal with these issues privately. Others laughed it off as not a real issue at all. Well, four years later, that all seems like ancient history.”

And now there’s a new push the administration is proposing rules to stop marketing products in schools that the government says are not good for kids. Companies would no longer be allowed to use logos of high-calorie products such as regular soda on cups, vending machines or posters.

“And as part of this effort, we’ll be eliminating advertisements for unhealthy food and beverages in our schools because I think we can all agree that our classrooms should be healthy places were our kids are not bombarded with ads for junk food.”

Which could mean a change to the iconic soft drink-sponsored school sports scoreboards that pop up almost everywhere.

That’s sure to fuel the complaints of some “let’s move” critics, who say government needs to back off when it comes to what we eat and drink.

Daren Bakst, The Heritage Foundation: “It’s no longer father knows best or mother knows best. It’s what government knows best and that that’s really the problem here.”

In answer to the nanny state question, the administration says it distinguishes between adults and children.

And that the “lets move” program defers to local controls and local officials, but that government has an obligation to try to assure that the foods and drinks served in schools are healthy.

1 Comment

  • Lee Larsen

    Wages stagnant, skyrocketing food and gas prices everyone has pulled in their belts a notch or two. Of course, more people are eating healthier and exercising more rather than fast-fooding it all the time. Schools have modified their lunch programs so that the students are eating more nutritious and less fattening foods. All in all, this is very good news.

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