Childhood obesity rates drop in some US cities

For the first time in decades, a handful of American cities -- including New York and Los Angeles -- are reporting declines in childhood obesity rates.

Several American cities are reporting declines in childhood obesity rates. ©bikeriderlondon/

The trend also includes smaller metropolitan areas such as Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Nebraska. However, the drops aren't huge -- just five percent in Philadelphia and three percent in Los Angeles, reports the New York Times on Monday.

"It's been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story," Dr. Thomas Farley, health commissioner in New York City, told the paper. New York City reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011.

Could this be a sign of a new national shift? Researchers aren't clear, but they do note that obesity reduction policies have been in place for several years, in addition to national campaigns backed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

But many scientists remain skeptical that anti-obesity programs work, agreeing that it will take comprehensive changes to see any lasting impact. Earlier this year, the Institute of Medicine evaluated prior obesity prevention strategies and made recommendations to help reverse the trend, such as making healthy foods and beverages available everywhere and strengthening health education in schools.


About the author

Writer: AFP Relax News
Position: News agency