Since 2003, new research has revealed that childhood obesity based off waist size has kept steady at 18%. Data from more than 16,000 children and teens, from ages 2-18, helped with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The data, reported in 2012, leads health officials to believe that soon, childhood obesity may be on the decline.
According to MPR News, the study was independent of sex, race, age, or ethnicity. It found that 33% of children aged 6-18 were abominably obese, but children 2-5 years had a drop in overall weight during the same time period.
The study was published online on July 21 in the journal Pediatrics, reports US News, and provides new research about how the obesity rates may have leveled off.
This stability is important, explains researcher Lyn Steffen, who is an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “Abdominal obesity is most linked to health complications.”
Healthier choices and less screen time can help with childhood weight issues, say researchers. Offering children healthier alternatives to their usual snacks and pushing them to go outside and interact more can help fight future health problems that may arise within puberty and beyond their teenage years.