Although childhood obesity has been deemed an epidemic for the last twenty years in the United States, there is some good news on the horizon. From 2004-2013, childhood obesity dropped 43%.
This has positive, long-term ramifications for the future, because childhood obesity is a major predictor of obesity in adults. For example, an obese 5 year old is 4 times more likely to become an obese adult. Additionally, 1/2 of obese 8th graders were obese at five years of age.
Here are some of the reasons for this encouraging new trend:
- More mothers are breastfeeding their infants – research has shown that children who were breastfed at infants were significantly less likely to become obese
- Schools and day care facilities have voluntarily rid their campuses of sugary drinks and fatty snacks
Although health officials are hopeful about the new statistics, they still maintain that childhood obesity is still an epidemic. Over the last 30 years, the number of young children and adolescents has doubled, while the number of obese children from 6-11 has tripled.
Long Term Health Benefits
Because of rising obesity rates, type 2 diabetes, which was formerly known as “adult onset diabetes”, has become more common in young adults, adolescents and even children. Stemming the obesity tide will most certainly reduce long term risks of diabetes, cardiac disease, and high blood pressure later in life.