Current research shows improvement in obesity rates of preschoolers

While preschool obesity rates show improvement, other categories do not reflect similar results. What can we do to reduce obesity?

Research published February 2014 suggests that obesity rates have dropped for preschool children between the ages of 2- to 5-years-old. The study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) noted that researches saw a 43 percent decline in rates of preschooler obesity from 13.9 percent to 8.4 percent over the past 10 years.

This is a first indicator that the multitude of efforts trying to combat this health challenge is working. Teachers, health educators, dieticians, parents, nurses, Michelle Obama, physicians and many others have all been working hard to turn the tide on the rising levels of obesity in our youth.

According to this study, this was unfortunately the only age category with improvement. To maintain this trend for preschoolers and improve the obesity rates of other age categories, individuals should make healthy food choices and increase their physical activity.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends MyPlate as a tool to build a healthier diet. The key nutritional messages for individuals to follow focus on the following:

  • Build a healthy plate. Think about what goes on your plate. Choose foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods that contain the nutrients you need without too many calories.
  • Cut foods that are high in fats, added sugars and salt.
  • Everyone has a unique personal calorie limit based on their physical activity, age and gender. Track what you eat and how much you eat. Eat less by moderating your portion sizes.
  • Michigan State University Extension recommends engaging in physical activity that you are capable of doing and that you enjoy. Enjoying your physical activity will make it easier to maintain.

Improving everyone’s nutrition and increasing their physical activity will continue to help turn the trend and improve obesity rates for all ages.

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