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Obesity rate drops among U.S. preschoolers - study

Obesity rate drops among U.S. preschoolers - study

PanARMENIAN.Net - Obesity rates fell among U.S. preschool-age children in 2010, reversing a trend of the past decade, according to the first national study to spot a decline in the condition among young kids, Bloomberg said.

The rate of obese 2- to 4-year-olds from low-income families dropped 1.8 percent in 2010 from 2003, while it fell 6.8 percent for those who were extremely obese, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a research letter published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers attributed the decline to greater awareness of health problems caused by obesity as well as an increase in breastfeeding, which studies have shown can reduce the risk. Obesity even at such a young age can set up children for diabetes, heart disease and even premature death, said Heidi Blanck, a study author.

The children were considered obese if their body mass index, a measure of height and weight, was at or above the 95th percentile for kids of the same age and gender, while extreme obesity was defined as having a body mass index at or above 120 percent of the 95th percentile.

The prevalence of obesity dropped to 14.94 percent in 2010 from 15.21 percent in 2003, according to the report. It was still higher than 13.05 percent in 1998. While the percentage of preschoolers with extreme obesity declined to 2.07 percent in 2010 from 2.22 percent in 2003, it was still higher than 1.75 percent in 1998.

Of the 2.4 million included in the study in 2010, there were 359,222 obese and 49,772 extremely obese U.S. preschoolers, Blanck said.

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