• Wednesday, February 26, 2014RSS Feed

    Toddler Obesity Rates Drop, Most Other Rates Unchanged

    A glimmer of good public health news: obesity rates among 2– 5-year-old children have dropped by 43% over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, that's about all the glimmer to be found in a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also states that there has been no significant change in obesity rates in the general population, and that the rate of obesity in women 60 and over is actually on the rise.

    The findings are based on a CDC analysis (abstract only available for free) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that included 9,120 participants across all age ranges. Researchers compared data from the 2010–2012 survey with the study conducted in 2003–2004 and found that "overall there was no significant change" in most age categories. Authors reported that "more than one third" of adults and 17% of youth in the US are obese, a rate unchanged from 10 years before.

    The bright spot in the study is that obesity rates for toddlers have declined dramatically from 13.9% to 8.4%--a finding that received wide media attention. In news reports of the CDC findings, researchers described the drop as "exciting" and said that the change was the first time any significant decrease in obesity had been reported by any age group.

    Less encouraging—and less prominent in most news stories—were CDC findings that indicated unchanged obesity rates in other age groups, and an increase in rates among women 60 and older, from 31.5% to 38.1%. The full report will be published in an upcoming issue of JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

    APTA offers several resources on obesity, including continuing education on childhood obesity, and a prevention and wellness webpage that links to podcasts on the harmful effects of inactivity.


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