U.S. may be turning corner in the fight against obesity

Dan Gorenstein Feb 26, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY

U.S. may be turning corner in the fight against obesity

Dan Gorenstein Feb 26, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Obesity among the youngest Americans has dropped, according to a new report from the CDC out this morning. Over the last decade obesity among 2 – to 5-year olds has fallen from 14 percent to about 8 percent.

If you worry about healthcare costs, this report is welcome news: obesity is expensive, with spending on the disease and related illness at more than $200 billion dollars a year.

“It is the diseases that cost the most in healthcare for us,” says Dr. Jeffrey Koplan is the vice president of the Emory Global Health Institute. “We’re talking about diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke. It’s a list that goes on and on and on,” he says.

Researchers aren’t sure what’s driving down obesity rates among young children – everything from an increase in breast feeding, to changes in the SNAP food program are theories. To be clear, the nation’s weight problems haven’t improved overall, but Temple epidemiologist Robert Whitaker points out obesity hasn’t gotten worse.

“I think that’s a very important finding considering that for almost three decades there have been a steady increase in the prevalence of obesity affecting people of all ages, races and ethnicities,” he says.

Whitaker says this new report from CDC, coupled with other indicators like increased physical activity and a drop in caloric intake suggests to him that our three decade trend may have come to a halt.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.