Dr. Devine noted a big positive in report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association - obesity rates among children ages 2 to 5 dropped 43 percent over the past decade. He said factors in the dramatic drop are believed to include improved nutrition and physical activity at child care centers, a decrease in the consumption of sugar-based beverages and an uptick in breastfeeding rates. Dr. Devine also noted efforts like First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign and initiatives promoting play by the NFL are helping.
There were also some troubling findings, however. Seventeen percent of children ages 2-19 are considered obese along with 35 percent of adults.
Dr. Devine said obesity is defined by a person's height and weight to determine their body mass index, or BMI. A child is considered obese if his or her BMI is at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex, according to CDC growth charts.
Researchers found that just over 8 percent of children 2 to 5 were obese in 2011-2012, down from nearly 14 percent in 2003-2004. Although the drop was significant, federal health officials noted that obesity rates for the broader population remain unchanged. And there was a negative finding for women over 60. Their obesity rates rose 21 percent over the same period.
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