Promising Data Released in New Obesity Study

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrates a significant decline in the prevalence of obese children ages two to five years old.  From 2003-2004 the obesity prevalence was at 14 percent and decreased to eight percent in 2011-2012, signifying a 43 percent decline according to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

“We continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping.  This report comes on the heels of previous CDC data that found a significant decline in obesity prevalence among low-income children aged 2 to 4 years participating in federal nutrition programs,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

A number of factors may be contributing to the decline in obesity among young children.  Many childcare centers have started to improve their nutrition and physical activity standards.  This is happening in South Carolina through the ABC Grow Healthy Initiative, a collaborative effort between the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC)  and the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SC DSS) ABC Child Care Program.  The initiative works to establish and implement nutrition and physical activity standards throughout South Carolina child care centers.  Additionally, data shows a decrease in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage among children. In addition, IMPH partnered with SC DHEC to produce a report titled “The Role of Portable Play Equipment in the Child Care Center,” which recommends the use of cost-effective portable play equipment to increase physical activity levels in children in child care settings.

While results are promising in the age two to five year old category, no significant change was observed among two to 19 year olds or adults between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.  In fact, obesity rates have actually increased for women over 60.

Click here for the full PDF of the article “Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012.”

Click here to view the New York Times article “Driving Down Childhood Obesity.”

Connect with IMPH:

Join our mailing list

© 2015 South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health