Obesity in young children plateaus for now

July 27, 2009

Obesity in younger, poverty-level children may be stabilizing, according to new CDC data in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (July 24).

Obesity in young, low-income children may be stabilizing, according to new CDC data in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (July 24).

For the latest study, researchers evaluated data from the CDC's Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS), which monitors children ages 4 and under enrolled in federally-funded nutrition programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

From 1998 to 2003, obesity prevalence in low-income preschoolers rose from 12.4% (1998) to 14.5% (2003). Yet the numbers barely moved from 2003 to 2008, leveling off at 14.6%.

The highest prevalence was seen among American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic children (21.2% and 18.5%, respectively). The lowest rates were among black (11.8%), white (12.6%), and Asian/Pacific Islander (12.3%) children.

Overall, the states with the lowest prevalence of obesity in children were Colorado and Hawaii (both lower than 10% prevalence).

Researchers suggest that campaigns aimed at prevention may explain the stabilization.