By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
While the US has long struggled with high obesity rates, a new study found that children ages 2-5 years old were 43% less obese from 2011-2012 than they were from 2003-2004.
Even though most of the other age ranges did not change significantly, a child’s obesity risk is usually cemented by age 5 – so, the fact that Americans are catching it early will eventually bring the other numbers down.
A greater public awareness of health and diet issues, ranging from the importance of exercise to the dangers of sugar, have helped first lady Michelle Obama realize her “Let’s Move!” mission of limiting junk foods in schools, educating parents, and promoting fitness. President Barack Obama even signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in December of 2010, which forced schools to meet certain nutritional requirements for food sold on campus, and also offered money to include more fruits and vegetables during lunchtime.
According to the “Let’s Move!” campaign, children should have 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and adults should have at least 30 minutes a day. See, while children ages 2-5 showed a drop in obesity, looking at the broader range of 2-19 reveals that a third of children and teens are obese – nearly triple the rate in 1963, according to the American Heart Association. And, in 2011-2012, more than a third of adults over 20 were found to be obese.
The Obamas seem to be having an impact with their program, since food manufacturers promised to cut 1.5 trillion calories from products, grocery stores like Walgreens and Supervalu are selling more fresh food to 1,500 low-income communities, and restaurants are overhauling kids’ menus.
Still, at the end of the day, it’s not up to the government or companies to make wise dieting and exercise decisions. It’s up to you to raise your awareness, take action, and be fit!
Featured image courtesy of Richard Stephenson on Flickr. Image of obesity age comparison courtesy of chanfett on Flickr.