American Heart Association Deputy Chief Medical Officer Eduardo Sánchez issued the following comments on behalf of Voices for Healthy Kids on the CDC's Vital Signs report released today that shows declines in childhood obesity rates in 19 states and territories among 2 to 4 year olds in low-income families.
"We can make a difference. This new report reaffirms that progress is being made to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. Several states and communities have shown declines in elementary school age children, and now CDC is now seeing small but significant declines among preschool age children in low-income families. There is cause to celebrate, but more work is ahead of us. We must continue the momentum in communities making progress and redouble our efforts in communities that are seeing increases or are stagnant. While one in eight preschoolers is obese, rates are higher in black and Hispanic children ages 2 to 5.
Voices for Healthy Kids applauds the many cities and states that are committed to helping children achieve a healthy lifestyle. Some have opened up more playgrounds and parks, more trails and bike lanes, and encouraged their residents to get active. Some communities are recruiting farmers markets and new grocers to low-income neighborhoods, setting up small farm stands, and connecting farmers to corner stores. Communities are finding ways to improve the healthfulness of snacks and meals at child care centers and ensuring these young children get active each and every day.
But even with all we're doing, and the signs of progress we're seeing, we can—and we must—do more. The good news is that we know that we can make a difference. We call upon parents, businesses and community leaders to join the American Heart Association and all interested partners to continue to improve the health of our children."