Recently released federal data showing a sharp drop in obesity rates among young children is encouraging news, but it raises almost as many questions as it answers.
As the nation grapples with the obesity issue and its health implications, the “why” behind the favorable data is almost as important as the drop itself.
In order to perpetuate this public health victory and broaden it to other age groups, we must understand how it was accomplished.
So far, there is only speculation as to why there was a 43 percent drop in obesity among kids ages 2 to 5 during an eight-year stretch, if indeed it was not a statistical anomaly as some have suggested.
Is it due to rising rates of breastfeeding? Increased efforts to promote healthy foods at preschools? Exercise programs that focus on getting kids moving? Something else entirely?
We hope researchers dig into these numbers with an eye toward explaining how this welcome news came to be.
Encouraging the maintenance of a healthy body weight is good public policy. Figuring out the most effective means of doing so is even better.