Reduction in Obesity Prevalence in Preschoolers

Summary and Comment |
March 11, 2014

Reduction in Obesity Prevalence in Preschoolers

  1. F. Bruder Stapleton, MD

However, overall prevalence in youth and adults remains high.

  1. F. Bruder Stapleton, MD

Obesity remains a public health challenge, although the trend of increasing prevalence might be stabilizing (NEJM JW Pediatr Adolesc Med Jan 25 2012). Numerous national efforts have been undertaken to attack this problem. CDC researchers analyzed current trends in childhood and adult obesity by comparing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data between 2003–2004 and 2010–2012.

Overall obesity prevalence did not change significantly and remained high in children (age range, 2–19 years, 17%) and adults (age, ≥20 years; 35%). However, among children aged 2 to 5 years, obesity prevalence significantly declined from 14% in 2003–2004 to 8% in 2010–2012.


This analysis offers a glimmer of positivity about the national epidemic of obesity. Although a decline in the prevalence of obesity in preschool children is encouraging, overall prevalence has not declined. Therefore, we cannot relax our attempts to encourage healthy eating and lifestyles. A reduction in the overall prevalence of childhood obesity would be nice to see in the next analysis.

Editor Disclosures at Time of Publication

  • Disclosures for F. Bruder Stapleton, MD at time of publication Consultant / advisory board Navigant Consulting Grant / research support NIH-NICHD; NIH-NCI Editorial boards UpToDate Leadership positions in professional societies American Board of Pediatrics (Chair, Subspecialties Committee); American Pediatric Society (Past President and Council Nominating Chair)


Reader Comments (1)

Mongjam Meghachandra singh, MD, DNB (SPM), DNB(HHA) Physician, Preventive Medicine, Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi

It is encouraging to see the decline in the prevalence of obesity in preschool children as per the report in US. In contrast, there is an uptrend in the prevalence of obesity in the school children in the metropolis of developing countries like India. The rising trend is related to the changing eating pattern with increase reliance on take away home or fast foods, less physical activity due to unavailability of adequate play areas, increasing tendency to watch television along with binge eating, spending more time on computers, tablets or mobile games in addition to increased capacity to spend on foods in urban metropolis in India. There is a strong need for regulation to check rampant upsurge of vendors with fast food items near schools, making available healthy foods instead of oil rich snacks in the school canteens and promote health education regarding healthy foods, physical activity on school children and teachers alike to reduce obesity in the long run.

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