NEW YORK (AP) — In the battle against childhood obesity, New York City appears to be doing better than Los Angeles, at least for low-income preschoolers.
A study released Thursday compared obesity rates for young poor children in the nation’s two largest cities over nine years. Rates dipped in New York from about 19 percent to 16 percent. But in Los Angeles they rose from 17 percent to more than 21 percent before dropping to about 20 percent.
One reason for the difference: Los Angeles kids included many more Mexican-Americans, and obesity is more common in Mexican-American boys than in white or black kids.
The study joins other recent reports of declines in childhood obesity rates in places like Philadelphia, Anchorage and Kearney, Neb.
New York City’s health commissioner said he was glad to hear the study’s results, calling them “a big success.” But with high rates of overweight and obesity in older children and adults, “there is much more work to be done,’ Dr. Thomas Farley said in a statement.
The director of Los Angeles County’s health department said it’s not clear why the rate rose there, but he was heartened to see it peak around 2009 and decline after.
“This is the first clear evidence — in the largest municipalities in the country — of this kind of decline” in pre-school age children,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding in a phone interview.
The research focused on children ages 3 and 4 enrolled in a government program for women, infants and young children known as WIC that provides food vouchers and other services. The children in the New York and California programs are measured and weighed every six months.
The study covered 2003-2011 and the number of children enrolled varied each year, with as many as 67,000 in New York City and 150,000 in Los Angeles County.
New York’s WIC program started very early — in the 1990s — in trying to promote exercise, healthy eating and breastfeeding. That’s probably one reason New York City’s obesity rate started dropping earlier, said the study’s lead author, Jackson Sekhobo of the New York State Department of Health.
It probably also helped that walking and mass transit is much more common in New York City than in car-centric places like Los Angeles, he added.
But another primary explanation is the breakdown of the kids in the two cities. In 2011, about 85 percent of the Los Angeles children in the study were Hispanic, and most were Mexican-American — a group with the highest reported childhood obesity rates, at least among boys.
In New York, 46 percent were Hispanic, with far fewer Mexican-Americans, Sekhobo noted.
Nationally, about 12 percent of preschool-age children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 18 percent of children ages 6 to 11 are obese, and about the same proportion of adolescents are that fat.
About 36 percent of adults are obese, according to the agency’s figures.
After decades of alarming reports of Americans gaining weight, “we’re seeing perhaps the beginning of the end of the obesity epidemic,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a statement.
The CDC released the study Thursday.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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