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  • 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.

    March APTA Webinars Focus on Health Care Reform, ICD-10

    APTA members can get the latest information on what's been happening in health care reform and what's going to be happening in diagnostic coding by signing up for 2 free webinars coming in March.

    On Thursday, March 20, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm ET, APTA experts will bring attendees up-to-date on the progress of health care reform, with an emphasis on policy provisions including accountable care organizations (ACOs), bundled payment systems, Medicaid expansion, and fraud and abuse initiatives.

    On March 27, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm ET, attendees can learn about the International Classification of Diseases coding system, with specific focus on how the latest version, ICD-10, differs from its predecessors. The federal government has mandated that ICD-10 be implemented by October 1, and the APTA webinar will help physical therapists understand what this means for their practices.

    Both webinars are free to APTA members, but space is limited. Registration information is available on the webinar pages linked above.

    Can't make the webinars? Visit the list of  available APTA Learning Center courses after the event to download a recording.