Obesity may be declining among preschool-aged children living in low-income families

December 25, 2012, JAMA and Archives Journals

"Obesity and extreme obesity in childhood, which are more prevalent among minority and low-income families, have been associated with other cardiovascular risk factors, increased health care costs, and premature death. Obesity and extreme obesity during early childhood are likely to continue into adulthood. Understanding trends in extreme obesity is important because the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors increases with severity of childhood obesity," writes Liping Pan, M.D., M.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues. National trends in extreme obesity among young children living in low-income families have not been known.

As reported in a Research Letter, the authors analyzed data from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS), which includes almost 50 percent of children eligible for federally funded and nutrition programs. The analysis for this study included 26.7 million children ages 2 through 4 years from 30 states and the District of Columbia that consistently reported data to PedNSS from 1998 through 2010. One routine clinic visit with demographic information and measured height and weight was randomly selected for each child. Obesity ( [BMI] 95th percentile or greater for age and sex) and extreme obesity (BMI 120 percent or greater of the 95th percentile) were defined according to the 2000 CDC growth charts.

The 2010 study population was slightly younger and had proportionally more Hispanics and fewer non-Hispanic whites and blacks compared with the 1998 population. The researchers found that the prevalence of obesity increased from 13.05 percent in 1998 to 15.21 percent in 2003. The prevalence of extreme obesity increased from 1.75 percent in 1998 to 2.22 percent in 2003. However, the prevalence of obesity decreased slightly to 14.94 percent in 2010; and the prevalence of extreme obesity decreased to 2.07 percent in 2010.

"To our knowledge, this is the first national study to show that the and extreme obesity among young U.S. children may have begun to decline," the authors write. "The results of this study indicate modest recent progress of obesity prevention among young children. These findings may have important health implications because of the lifelong health risks of obesity and extreme obesity in early childhood."

Explore further: Prevalence of obesity in US still high, with little change in recent years

More information: JAMA. 2012;308[24]:2563-2565.

Related Stories

Prevalence of obesity in US still high, with little change in recent years

January 17, 2012
There has not been significant change in the prevalence of obesity in the U.S., with data from 2009-2010 indicating that about one in three adults and one in six children and teens are obese; however, there have been increases ...

Childhood obesity increases likelihood of a cranial disorder that may cause blindness

May 24, 2012
Children who are overweight or obese -- particularly older, non-Hispanic white girls -- are more likely to have a neurological disorder known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a rare condition that can result in blindness, ...

Recommended for you

Evening hours may pose higher risk for overeating, especially when under stress, study finds

January 16, 2018
Experiments with a small group of overweight men and women have added to evidence that "hunger hormone" levels rise and "satiety (or fullness) hormone" levels decrease in the evening. The findings also suggest that stress ...

Bariatric surgery prolongs lifespan in obese

January 16, 2018
Obese, middle-age men and women who had bariatric surgery have half the death rate of those who had traditional medical treatment over a 10-year period, reports a study that answers questions about the long-term risk of the ...

Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to overweight and obesity in children, adults: Analysis of new studies

December 23, 2017
A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) - concludes that SSB consumption is associated with ...

As income rises, women get slimmer—but not men

December 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—A comprehensive survey on the widening American waistline finds that as paychecks get bigger, women's average weight tends to drop.

Policy and early intervention can curb obesity rates

December 18, 2017
More information and emphasis on dietary lifestyle changes that prevent obesity, and its comorbidities, have not reduced the rise in obesity in U.S. adults and adolescents, according to a recent study in the New England Journal ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.