After decades of inexorably rising rates of obesity among American youth, a new CDC analysis reveals a reversal of the trend. And best of all? The word ‘meat’ never appears in the report.
Ask any public health official about the most urgent challenge they face, and most of them would immediately identify the problem of obesity that has been a particularly intransigent problem among the youngest generation.
About the only thing that outnumbered the percentage of Americans of all ages considered overweight or obese has been the strident opinions about which magic bullet that government/schools/businesses/advertisers/food processors were supposed to fire to cure the problem.
We’re too sedentary of a nation, with too many drive-thrus and video games, so the solution is to get people to take up exercising, to stop watching and start playing more sports. But even as recreational and adventure sports have become billion-dollar businesses and gym membership grew to record levels, obesity continued to increase.
Others pointed to the fast-food purveyors and the decidedly unhealthy products that too many people consumers too many times a week — if only Americans would stop patronizing those restaurants, we’d see a big change in the statistics. But even as the entire industry reinvented its menuboard, offering salads and fruit cups and even vegetarian options, obesity continued to increase.
Veggie activists used the crisis to insist that there’s not an overweight vegan alive on Earth, and if only the entire world would abandon the foods that have sustained humanity for all of recorded history, the problem would be solved. Yet despite the somewhat modest growth in the numbers of people claiming to be vegetarians, obesity continued to increase.
According to a comprehensive data collected by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the national obesity rate among 2- to 5-year-olds dropped by almost half over the past decade, suggesting that a new generation of Americans may (finally) be able to avoid the risks of heart disease and diabetes linked to obesity.
Officially, obesity among young children fell from 14 percent in 2003 to 2004 to 8.1 percent in 2011 to 2012, according to a summary of the CDC data published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The results expanded on data initially reported by CDC officials in October 2013.
In children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years, obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of CDC’s gender-specific, age-adjusted BMI growth charts. In adults, obesity was defined as a BMI greater than or equal to 30.