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Obesity among low-income preschoolers declines in many states

After decades of rising rates, obesity among low-income preschoolers declined slightly in 19 states and U.S. territories from 2008 through 2011, according to the latest Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report found that Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Dakota, and the U.S. Virgin Islands saw at least a one percentage point decrease in their rate of obesity. Twenty states and Puerto Rico held steady at their current rate.  Obesity rates increased slightly in three states.

Previous research shows that about one in eight preschoolers is obese in the United States. Children are five times more likely to be overweight or obese as an adult if they are overweight or obese between the ages of three and five years.

CDC is encouraging state and local officials to step up efforts to drive down rates of childhood obesity. Business leaders, childcare providers, healthcare providers, communities, and families are some of the groups that influence nutrition and physical activity in the places where young children live, learn, and play. State and local officials can assist these groups by:

  • Making it easier for families to buy healthy, affordable foods and beverages in their neighborhoods.
  • Helping provide access to safe, free drinking water in places such as community parks, recreation areas, child care centers, and schools.
  • Helping local schools open gyms, playgrounds, and sports fields during non-school hours so children can play safely after school, on weekends, and over the summer.
  • Helping child care providers adopt best practices for improving nutrition and physical activity and for limiting computer and television time.
  • Creating partnerships with civic leaders, child care providers, and others to make community changes that promote healthy eating and active living.

For the full brief, visit: http://1.usa.gov/1cRgBwk

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