Government researchers, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative survey taken every year, found that obesity rates among 2- to 5-year-olds had actually fallen between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012. And not just by a little bit over the period, the rate fell from 14 percent to 8 percent, marking a more than 40 percent drop. It was a bold statement, rooted in emboldening data. But in retrospect, there was something off about the report, or the idea that we had really scored a major victory in the battle against obesity.
"The data they cited are perfectly accurate, but when you look at trends it matters where you start," said Asheley Skinner, who is a scientist at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, a research arm of the Duke University School of Medicine. "This is a case where you can tell two pretty different stories, but only one of them is right." Skinner is the lead author of a new study published this month in the journal Obesity. The study used data from the same annual survey but reached a different conclusion. Despite a widespread belief, tied at least in part to the 2014 CDC report, that childhood obesity is trending downward, it argues that the opposite is true: Childhood obesity might not be growing quite as fast as it used to, but it's still growing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, these are the leading causes of death for infants and preschoolers. Awareness is key
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