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 (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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