New report shows obesity declining slightly
SUMMARY: A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that obesity rates declined in 18 states in preschool children.
Posted: August 7, 2013
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity among preschool-aged children has declined in 18 states across the country. The report looked at data collected between 2008 and 2011 from 40 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. Ten states were excluded from the data due to a change in the collection process. While the changes are small, professionals are excited to that the epidemic's dire stats are turning around quickly.
There is still a lot of work to do to promote healthy eating and physical activity, as one in eight preschoolers is obese, but we are headed in the right direction. School cafeterias across the nation have set new standards for food and drinks that are served. Changing the standards for food that kids eat at lunch is another step in the right direction, because the high-fat and high-sodium cuisine that many children were consuming caused not only obesity, but bad breath and other oral health conditions. The health of the mouth is a direct representation of one's overall wellbeing.
"This is the first report to show many states with declining rates of obesity in our youngest children after literally decades of rising rates," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a press telebriefing. "Although obesity remains epidemic, the tide has begun to turn for some kids in some states. While the changes are small, for the first time in a generation they are going in the right direction."
This downward trend of obesity shows positive signs for a number of reasons. Many children are consuming healthier foods, which means that their oral health is likely simultaneously improving. Diets filled with high-fat and greasy foods are a prime cause of bad breath, and it can even lead to gum disease and an increased prevalence of dental caries. Research continues to prove that the health of the mouth has a lasting effect on the entire body, and visa versa. Children who are eating fruits and vegetables and being physically active will improve their overall health and lifespan.
Researchers analyzed the data of 11.6 million children between the ages of 2 and 4 who are in federally funded maternal- and child-nutrition programs. According to the results from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Dakota and the U.S. Virgin Islands saw the largest drop, all at least 1 percent. Unfortunately, obesity rates remained stagnant in 20 states and Puerto Rico, and they rose in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
What parents can do
Obesity is a major concern for people of all ages, but especially for children. Young kids who are suffering from obesity have a much higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, joint pain and much more as they age. As kids get older, it will be more challenging for them to work off the weight. Parents should prepare meals made with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat and whole grains. These foods will also promote good oral health for kids.
Instead of crackers and bread, give children snacks like carrots, apples and nuts. These crunchy snacks will not only fill kids up with nutrients, but they will encourage kids' oral health by getting rid of dental plaque. Crackers and bread become mushy after being consumed, and therefore stick to the teeth and gums. These foods are especially bad for oral health because they "feed" bacteria in the mouth, which are what cause bad breath and lead to dental caries.