If the findings of a new study are anything to go by, US is beginning to make meaningful inroads into childhood obesity. While obesity rate of America haven”t changed significantly over the past decade, the phenomenon among the nation”s kids appears to have slowed down.
After years of sky rocketing growth, obesity rate among kids ages 2-5 dropped about 40 percent, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study has found.
Describing the finding as ‘exciting’, lead researcher, Dr. Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta stated, “This is the first time we””ve seen any indication of any significant decrease in any group.”
National obesity trends
In order to get some insight into the national obesity trends, CDC researchers focused on more than 9,000 children (ages 2 to 19) and adults (20 and over) who were part of the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They then compared the results to five previous obesity rate of America analyses dating back to 2003-04.
Obesity rate of America is determined by measuring body mass index (BMI), a ratio of height over weight. An adult is classified as ‘obese’ if his or her BMI is 30 or over, while obesity in children means a kid who has a BMI at or above the 95th percentile at a particular age.
The researchers found, obesity rate of America among children aging 2 to 5 plummeted from 13.9% in 2003-2004 to 8.4 percent in the years 2011-2012, a 43 percent decrease. The prevalence of obesity among children ages 6 to 11 dropped to 17.7% from 18.8% over the same period.
The fresh findings offer a glimmer of hope to health regulators since the obesity epidemic among kids has always been a cause of concern in the United States. Kids’ piling on extra pounds is a gateway to other related problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, premature death, breathing issues among others.
“We continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said. “This confirms that at least for kids, we can turn the tide and begin to reverse the obesity epidemic.”
Other highlights of the study of Obesity rate of America
Though things are beginning to stabilize with preschoolers, the overall obesity numbers have not inched down. In fact, obesity prevalence remains high and has changed little over the past decade among both adults and teens. More than two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese and more than 6 percent are extremely obese. The study found obesity rate of America has surged in women 60 and older, from 31.5 percent in 2003-2004 to 38.1 percent in 2011-2012.
“Obesity prevalence remains high and thus it is important to continue surveillance,” stated Dr. Cynthia Ogden.
The findings are published in the Feb. 26 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.