Child Obesity Rates Slimming Down

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For the first time in 25 years, childhood obesity is not on the rise, according to the CDC. Although this is encouraging news, it’s too early to tell if progress is being made.

For the first time in 25 years, childhood obesity is not on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although this is encouraging news, it’s too early to tell if progress is being made, or if this is just a statistical fluke. Either way, it’s a welcome change, especially when considering that, according to studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003-04 and 2005-06 saw roughly 32% of all children as being overweight but not obese; 16% of children who were considered obese; and 11% of children who were considered extremely obese.

If these statistics trend towards an improvement in childhood obesity, it will no doubt be in part because of an effort being made by schools nationwide. Obesity prevention programs like School Meals, which provides “healthy, nutritious meals and snacks to the nation’s children,” and the Special Milk Program, which “reimburses schools for the milk they serve,” have helped to educate children about healthy eating habits (for information on federal and state initiatives for childhood obesity prevention programs, visit http://www.nccic.org/poptopics/childobesity.html). Dr. Reginald Washington of the American Academy of Pediatrics is optimistic that this is a sign of progress, and that these new statistics should be celebrated. "There are a lot of people trying to do good things to try to stem the tide," Washington said. In addition, some schools are recognizing the benefits of increasing physical education, and, as Washington stated, Americans in general "are more aware of the importance of fruits and vegetables" (for more on the importance of fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet, as well as information on the National Fruit and Vegetable Program, visit http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/qa/index.html).

Although there is still plenty of room for improvement in the fight against childhood obesity, this is at least a start. It all begins with education; the more that parents and schools are involved in teaching their children how to eat healthy, as well as the consequences of not doing so, the better off their children will be throughout the rest of their life.

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