February 24, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Study: Obesity in preschoolers making progress

Atlanta— A new study may be another signal of a national decline in childhood obesity.

The finding comes from a government study considered a gold-standard gauge of trends in the public’s health. The researchers found obesity among children ages 2 to 5 dropped — to 8 percent, from 14 percent a decade ago.

It’s not enough to say the nation has clearly turned the corner. The only decline was seen in preschoolers, not in older children. And some experts note that even the improvement in toddlers wasn’t a steady decline, and argue that it’s hard to know yet whether preschooler weight figures are permanently curving down or merely jumping around.

But it’s enough of a decline to be optimistic, said Cynthia Ogden, one of the study’s authors.

“There’s a glimmer of hope,” said Ogden, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials have long been hoping for more substantial evidence that they’ve turned a corner in the fight against childhood obesity.

Obesity is seen as one of the nation’s leading public health problems — health officials call it a longstanding epidemic. A third of U.S. children and teens and more than two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight.