Progress on Childhood Obesity
For decades, obesity rates among our youngest children have been on the rise. According to a new CDC Vital Signs report, obesity among low-income preschoolers has declined in many states and U.S. territories. This is good news, but childhood obesity rates are too high, with 1 in 8 preschoolers being obese.
Obese children are more likely to be obese later in childhood and adolescence, where obesity is associated with high cholesterol, high blood sugar, asthma, and mental health problems. In addition, children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are 5 times as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults.
There is more work to be done to continue to move childhood obesity rates down. State and local officials can help make it easier for families to buy healthy, affordable foods and beverages in their neighborhood, and create safe, convenient places for children to play. Health care providers can routinely measure children’s weight, height and body mass index, and make recommendations about nutrition and physical activity. Parents and child care providers can serve fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods for meals and snacks, make water easily available, limit TV and computer time, and encourage preschoolers to be active every day.