Over the past decade, the rate of obesity among small children in the US dropped a whopping 43 percent drop. As the New York Times reported today, “About 8 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds were obese in 2012, down from 14 percent in 2004. ‘This is the first time we’ve seen any indication of any significant decrease in any group,’ said Cynthia L. Ogden, a researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the lead author of the report.”
I knew it was coming. Like smoking, obesity is becoming less and less socially acceptable. And the social milieu is important. If people in your life are obese, you are more likely to be obese. This finding was published in a study about 7 years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine, as reported in the Times.
Saying that “obesity is becoming less and less socially acceptable” may sound cruel or insensitive, but obesity kills. It is one of the leading risk factors in early death. It must be treated as a public health issue, not soft pedaled because being overweight is a touchy subject. (Full disclosure: My BMI is currently on the cusp of the “Obese” range. I personally appreciate the peer pressure to slim down. It might save my life.)
As today’s Times article notes, “the lower obesity rates in the very young bode well for the future.”
Just as smoking has decreased, so too (I predict) that obesity will be seen more and more for what it is: a deadly, preventable and reversible medical condition.