FROM THE GRIO — The fight against childhood obesity is beginning to show results, say government researchers.
After rising for decades and then stabilizing somewhat in the mid-2000s, the obesity rate among low-income preschoolers declined by small but statistically significant amounts in 19 states and U.S. territories between 2008 and 2011, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday.
“We are excited because we have seen so much work going on in the past several years at the local, state, and national level, and we believe these changes are beginning to make a difference,” co-author Heidi Michels Blanck told NBC News.
The government initiatives include First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to reduce childhood obesity; improvements in the nutritional content of the food provided by the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and growth in the number of U.S. hospitals enrolled in the World Health Organization’s Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which encourages new moms to breastfeed.
“We know that breastfeeding leads to healthy weight in the first year,” said Blanck, chief of the CDC’s obesity prevention and control branch.
Still, there is no proof that specific government interventions have led to the declines in obesity noted in today’s report, acknowledged CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden in a media conference call.