Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Childhood Obesity Down Sharply, But Why?

Declining obesity rates in toddlers is excellent news and I hope the beginning of a trend:
Federal health authorities on Tuesday reported a 43 percent drop in theobesity rate among 2- to 5-year-old children over the past decade, the first broad decline in an epidemic that often leads to lifelong struggles with weight and higher risks for cancer, heart disease and stroke.
But why?  The Times lists several different theories, from less sugary beverage consumption to greater breastfeeding to changes in federally funded nutrition programs to Michelle Obama's efforts.  Tucked down at the bottom of the list is this:
New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg also made a major push to combat obesity. The city told restaurants to stop using artificial trans fats in cooking and required chain restaurants to display calorie information on their menus.
I look forward to a few more years of data, but I suspect that moving away from trans-fats and HFCS in our food supply is going to have a long term positive effect on public health.  And this data may be the first indication.

I'm not a scientist, and I've certainly been wrong before.  But that's my intuition.

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