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Childhood Obesity Rates Falling

August 12, 2013
Plain English Version

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There is good news on the obesity front. The obesity rate for low-income preschoolers is going down in 19 states. According to the federal government, the decline is small but important.

Looks like the government is taking much of the credit. First, it says Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign is encouraging children to exercise. More than 10,000 childcare centers use Let’s Move programs to promote healthy life-styles.

Second, experts think that mothers who are breastfeeding produce healthier toddlers. A survey found that more mothers are still breastfeeding for six months. Also, more are still feeding at 12 months.

An expert said breastfeeding teaches infants how to eat and how to stop when they are full. Mothers using costly formula might not want to waste any of it, and might encourage infants to eat more.

Finally, the program for women, infants and children (WIC) is updating its diet guidelines. It promotes eating more whole fruits and vegetables. Experts admit the higher cost of these items may make it harder for parents to purchase them.

Little by little, all the changes in nutritional practice add up to changes in public health.

Obesity is complicated. There are genetic and environmental factors involved. A certain percent of the population probably is going to be heavy. It may be that the percent of heavy children has topped out.

The improvements are real, but, as with everything, there is much more to be done.

Source: USA Today

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