USDA says it is encouraged by new figures from the Centers for Disease Control that suggest the rate of obesity among pre-school students in the US is declining for the first time in decades.
A blog post by Dr. Janey Thornton, USDA under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, cites the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which provides federal grants to states for supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women. Thornton also cites the Child and Adult Care Food Program's (CACFP) increased emphasis on nutrition and physical activity and the healthier school foods mandated by the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act as contributing to the decline.
However, more work remains, Thornton writes. One in 8 preschoolers is obese, setting the stage for serious and preventable health problems later in life. "We at USDA are proud of our ongoing efforst to ensure the health of America's next generation," says Thornton. "And we know that these efforts are playing a vital role in turning the tide on early childhood obesity."
For more statistics and information on childhood obesity, visit www.CDC.gov/vitalsigns.