Decrease in obesity not seen in less affluent children

Although childhood obesity is showing signs of leveling and in some cases declining, this trend is only occurring in certain subgroups, according to a CNN Health article. Comprehensive national surveys have reported the decline in children ages 2-5, but a specific study of children from low-income families did not find the same declines.

Concern is spreading that young children, especially ones from low-income families, are drinking too much sugary juice. Photo courtesy of Dr. Robyn Silverman.

In the May edition of the journal Pediatrics, a study shows that less affluent children are worse off when it comes to fighting obesity. The study was performed only in Massachusetts, so researchers are hesitant to assume the trend is occurring on a national scale, but previous studies have found the trend to be true in other states as well.

There are several reasons that this trend exists, according to Susan Babey, a senior research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Parents working more than one job have less time to be active and model healthy behavior for their kids, and fast-food meals are easier and cheaper than preparing something fresh and homemade. Many studies have also found that less affluent children drink too much juice.

Answers won’t come from simply telling kids to “eat healthy.” Efforts targeted specifically to children in low-income families need to be made, researchers conclude.

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