Mixed news in America’s latest weight report

Mixed news in America’s latest weight report

American preschoolers are getting skinnier, according to a report from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s nationwide study of weight showed a decrease in obesity among 2- to 5-year-olds for 2011-2012, compared to previous years. In 2003 and 2004, 14 percent of children between 2 and 5 were obese, compared to the most recent finding of just 8 percent.

Americans in other age groups did not show a decline in obesity, but the improvement in very young children has some experts encouraged. Another positive sign: Only one group saw an increased obesity rate. Prevalence of obesity among women age 60 and older went from 32 percent in 2003 and 2004 to 38 percent in the latest results. Obesity rates in other groups held steady.

Considering the plague of obesity Americans have faced for decades, an increase in only one group paired with a bit of good news in kids could be seen as a minor victory. After all, a fitter America tomorrow depends largely on the health of today’s children. Perhaps the tides are just beginning to turn in our country’s long battle to shed extra pounds. Only time will tell.

But don’t pat yourself on the back too much, America. Overall obesity figures are still horrifying: 35 percent of Americans over 20 are obese, the CDC numbers show. Black and Hispanic adults have even higher rates of obesity. For youth in general, those ages 2 to 19, obesity prevalence is 17 percent.

If those statistics make you want to give up on real change in the U.S.A., remember this: you don’t have to change the whole country. Just take responsibility for your own health and helping those you love. Journey toward a healthier lifestyle one change at a time.


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