Pediatric and Teen Obesity Rates Falling in Several Cities

Posted 01/24/2013 | By HealthCorps

There has been an emerging trend in big cities like New York and Los Angeles to pass public policies and encourage behavior changes that directly result in weight loss and better health, because of worrisome obesity rates among children and teens.

The outcome has been a slow but perceptible decrease in obesity statistics among youth in these cities.  Now other cities like Anchorage, Alaska and Kearney, Nebraska, as well as the state of Mississippi are all showing a drop in obesity rates as well.  The only problem is that the small positive changes appear to mostly be happening among white students.

Researchers are not quite sure why the obesity rates are beginning to fall in these cities and states.  They suggest that we are seeing the drop clearly in school districts where height and weights are routinely measured every year.  In Los Angeles, the changes are specifically being charted in fifth, seventh and ninth graders – grades that offer yearly measurement evaluations.

Researchers also see that some of the declining rates of obesity are occurring in cities where obesity fighting measures have been in place for several years.  Philadelphia has been battling soaring rates of obesity for years and has recently (finally) shown improvements in obesity trends, among minorities as well.  That is a group that has thus far been the toughest one to penetrate.

Philadelphia’s health commissioner believes that it “just took awhile” for obesity-targeted public policies and changes to yield impact.

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