Good news on the problem of overweight kids. A new study shows that the number of overweight children in lower-income families is going down slightly. The important thing, researchers say, is the change in direction.
The study covered children in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in the years from 1998 to 2010.
Researchers say an average 3-year old boy who is almost 3 feet 2 inches tall, is obese if he weights 37 pounds, and extremely obese if he weighs 44 pounds or more.
Experts are not sure if there is a single reason why the epidemic of overweight children might be leveling off or dropping. The general feeling is that several programs are helping.
- There is more support for physical activity for kids.
- The amount of advertising for sugary foods is going down.
- School food programs are serving healthier meals.
- The WIC program itself is lowering the amount of spending on fruit juices while increasing spending on fruits and vegetables.
There has been a big increase in the number of WIC mothers who are breast-feeding their infants. In 1980, only 28 percent of infants from those families had ever been breast-fed, compared with 66 percent in 2011. Doctors are not sure why, but fewer infants who breast-feed become overweight.