Number of the Day: -1.3%

August 9, 2013 | Number of The Day
Drop in low-income early-childhood obesity

The Centers for Disease Control is heralding a new study that shows a reduction in early childhood (between the ages of 2 and 4) obesity for low-income children in many states. New Jersey’s drop was one of the highest — a full 1.3 percent, since 2008.

But don’t go celebrating just yet. New Jersey also has one of the highest percentages (16.6 percent) of young children considered obese. Only California, with 16.8 percent, reported a higher rate, while New Jersey tied with Rhode Island and just nudged Massachusetts (16.4 percent.)

Nevertheless, the CDC found the decrease significant, and noted that 19 of 43 states and territories demonstrated a reduction of greater than 1 percent over only three years.

The CDC said it was impossible to track the specific reasons for the decrease but indicated that local and state initiatives, along with First Lady Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, are likely to be having some impact. In New Jersey, the state health department has initiated a breast-feeding program — the lack of which has been linked to childhood obesity — as well as a number of initiatives that promote better nutrition and more physical activity.