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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 2, 2013

Obesity Declines in US Preschoolers

JAMA. 2013;310(13):1333. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.277690

In recent decades, the prevalence of obesity among US preschoolers has doubled. But that trend apparently is turning around. Data from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System show that obesity rates declined slightly among preschoolers in low-income households in 19 of 43 states and US territories surveyed from 2008 to 2011.

The analysis by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) included nearly 12 million children aged 2 to 4 years who were participating in the federally funded maternal and child nutrition programs. The largest decline in obesity prevalence was in the US Virgin Islands, to 11% in 2011 from 13.6% in 2008. Five states—Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, and South Dakota—had absolute decreases of 1% or more in the prevalence of obese preschoolers from 2008 to 2011. Twenty states and Puerto Rico had no significant changes; obesity prevalence increased significantly in 3 states—Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.