Federal authorities reported Tuesday that the obesity rate for pre-school aged children has dropped forty three percent over the last decade. A federal health survey shows the first substantial decline in obesity in children ages two to four in the last ten years, promising findings in the fight against the obesity epidemic which often takes hold young and may lead to life-long struggles with weight management and disease.
The causes for the decline are still unclear, but many theories suggest that lower consumption of sugary beverages and increased breast-feeding during infancy may have been catalysts. Overall calorie consumption has decreased in the past decade by seven percent for boys and four percent for girls, although health experts said those decreases were too small to have made such a difference.
Supporters of state, local and federal policies aimed at reducing obesity claim that such programs contributed to do the decline in obesity rates, and an overall change in lifestyle and environment may be having an effect. Most experts agree that further research is needed in the coming years.
Elizabeth Lopatto, Science Reporter with Bloomberg News
May Wang, Associate Professor, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Michael Goran, Director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the USC Kick School of Medicine