Good news in the nation’s fight against obesity. Obesity rates among children ages 2 to 5 have dropped significantly over the last decade.
“This is the first time we’ve seen any indication of any significant decrease in any group,” Cynthia L. Ogden, a researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the lead author of the report, published in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, reports the New York Times. “It was exciting.”
According to the Times, this is the first “broad decline in an epidemic that often leads to lifelong struggles with weight and higher risks for cancer, heart disease and stroke.” Children who are overweight or obese by age 5 are five times as likely to continue to struggle with their weight as adults. The study’s findings offer “the first clear evidence that America’s youngest children have turned a corner in the obesity epidemic,” reports the Times. “About 8 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds were obese in 2012, down from 14 percent in 2004.”
Despite the good news for the age group, young children only make up a small percentage of the American population, where obesity and overweight statistics are flat, the study found. In women over age 60, rates of obesity and overweight have increased. “A third of adults and 17 percent of youths are obese, the federal survey found,” according to the Times, and “the lower obesity rates in the very young bode well for the future.”
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