Obesity rates among low-income preschool children fell in 19 U.S. states and territories in 2011, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The encouraging results – one of the first times that obesity declines have been seen among low-income preschoolers – suggests that a decades-long rise in young children’s weight may be reversing.
An increase in breastfeeding rates, along with efforts to improve healthier food options and physical activity offerings in communities, were cited by researchers as some of the potential reasons for the improved obesity rates.
“We commend former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin for her leadership in issuing a Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding,” said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president of program strategy for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Numerous studies have found that breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight. Dr. Benjamin’s Call to Action has helped to make breastfeeding easier for many women, and benefit the health of women and children alike.”
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is celebrating August as National Breastfeeding Month and calling attention to the role that everyone can play in supporting breastfeeding.
With efforts to address the whole system – from increasing breastfeeding rates to improving access to healthy food to addressing structural inequities – rates of childhood obesity likely will continue to decline. Proponents of anti-obesity programs also contend that a comprehensive set of policies applied systemically and over a period of time are needed.
To learn more about WKKF’s work to increase breastfeeding rates, please visit the first food webpage. To learn more about WKKF’s commitment to ensuring that all children have equitable access to good food and opportunities for physical activity, please visit the Food & Community webpage.