Childhood Obesity Rates Fall

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Children eat at a federally-funded Head Start Program school, 09/20/12 in Woodbourne, NY. The school provides early education, nutrition & health services to children from low-income families. (John Moore/Getty)

New CDC data show a 43% drop in obesity rates among American children age 2 to 5. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition and public health at NYU and the author of many books, including Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, talks about the trend, plus the new nutrition panel expected from the White House tomorrow.


Marion Nestle

Comments [14]

Pavel from London

I'm well aware of the sugar content of sodas e.g. Coca Cola but was stunned to see a "San Pellegrino ORANGE" can for sale in a London supermarket the other day. I looked at the label and there were about 30g of sugar in the 330ml drink--i.e. the same as in Coke or Pepsi! The information is there but one must be alert and reasonably literate/numerate to make sense of the info when for instance they say 'X grams of sugar per serving' but define a serving as 6 oz when the can is 12 oz. Ultimately we need far clearer labelling that makes sense to everyone regardless of educational level, and probably taxes on added sugar in snacks and drinks. (Though with Big Snack and Big Drink lobbyists and their control in Congress, this is unlikely!)

Feb. 27 2014 03:17 AM

The only radio I listen to is NPR (well, and university music station) and mostly I agree with and appreciate what I hear. Recently however, several NPR shows, for example, the Brian Lehrer show this morning, have concluded that poor people cannot afford eating healthy. This is an unhelpful myth that is in the way of focusing on the real problems. Cooking simple meals at home, for example, a bowl of brown rice, is not expensive. There are, of course, major problems in the way of eating healthy, but it is NOT that eating healthy is expensive. Major problems (that apply to most of the US population): no dietary education (at home or in school); no knowledge of basic, simple cooking; no willingness to make time to cook (no time for cooking is another myth - just consider the statistics about how much time people spend watching TV); addiction to junk food; no understanding of the ancient truth: you are what you eat; no knowledge of the contamination of the U.S. food supply; just to list the top problems. Please, NPR show hosts, do not keep on propagating myths.

Feb. 26 2014 12:27 PM
Stacey McFadin from New York, NY

These announcements signal small steps in the right direction. There still remains much work to be done - as evidenced by a comment by a national morning tv anchor today with regard to the obesity study, applauding all of the yogurt choices available these days for children instead of sugary cereals. Hopefully changes in labeling will go far enough to educate consumers about the hidden added sugars that exist in our food supply. A comprehensive approach to education is necessary, including curbing (or increasing the transparency of) marketing to children with regard to foods that make certain health claims.

Feb. 26 2014 10:34 AM
Renter from East Village

The point of the amount of added refined sugars is that a huge amount of sugar enters the blood at the same time. This disturbs the chemical balance and acidity of the blood. This imbalance can not be corrected by excretion so the body restores balance by converting the sugar to fat that is deposited on the body. Natural sugars in fruit etc has to be broken drown and extracted from the food. This sugar enters the blood in a slower way that does not unbalance the body chemistry and you could not eat enough fruit to create the imbalance caused by a bottle of soda.

Feb. 26 2014 10:25 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Also, to my point, this is not strictly "Childhood Obesity" but "low-income preschoolers" from 2008-11, the height of the economic recession. Here is a link to the original journalism as opposed to the WNYC spin segment...

Feb. 26 2014 10:17 AM
Robert from NYC

How about lowering food prices! It's outrageous that the healthier foods are out of reach for most, MOST families gut with the marketing of "organic" food in fancy (read: expensive) packaging food too is become "food for the rich and almost rich".

Wow $2000 gift certificate from Whole Foods, wow, that should get one a small bag of food or maybe 2 steaks?!!

Feb. 26 2014 10:17 AM
Bob Jones from Bensonhurst

Marion comes across as very arrogant...can you find another additional person on food & nutrition topics, please?

Feb. 26 2014 10:14 AM

For the caller who was concerned about the font size on the Nut Facts label. The FDA regulates fonts/sizes that are supposed to be used in the Nut Facts.

Feb. 26 2014 10:13 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

This is entirely to do with demographics. The only people fatter than Americans are Mexicans. That's not my opinion, that's a fact:

The drop off in illegal immigration owing to our economic woes has led to a precipitous decrease in illegal immigrant flows and even outflows back to Mexico. Fewer fat Mexican kids mean a "reduction" in childhood obesity.

Feb. 26 2014 10:12 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Look, carbs are carbs and sugar is sugar regardless if they come from Twinkies or oranges or even carrots. Dr. Atkins explained it all and it has worked perfectly for me. In the back of every labels are carbohydrates and under that sugar. The closer to "0" the closer you are to losing weight. The more carbs, the fatter you are probably going to get. Water has no carbs. Drink a lot of clean water.

Feb. 26 2014 10:11 AM

"Relentless corporate pressure" indeed.

What about reigning-in all the predatory advertising targeted at youth?

Feb. 26 2014 10:08 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Yeah, right! Take a look aRound.

Feb. 26 2014 10:07 AM
Maria from Morningside Hts.

Drop in childhood obesity -- perhaps attributable to more breast-feeding? Less fruit juice? I still see a frightening number of parents giving children in strollers bottles filled with juice.

Feb. 26 2014 10:07 AM

"Relentless corporate pressure" indeed.

What about restricting the predatory all the predatory advertising targeted at youth?

Feb. 26 2014 10:06 AM

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