Health, News

Fewer Young American Children Are Obese: Study

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First lady of the United States Michelle Obama talks to American and British children about health and fitness. Image: Staff Sgt. Austin May
First lady of the United States Michelle Obama talks to American and British children about health and fitness. Image: Staff Sgt. Austin May

Obesity rates in young children in the U.S. have dropped by 43 per cent.

In this case, obesity means “very overweight,” which is not good for a person’s health.

Over the last 10 years, the number of young children in the U.S. who are obese has gone down by a lot.

In 2004, nearly 14 per cent of American children aged two to five were obese. In 2012 the number went down to 8.4 per cent.

That is a very good thing, because research shows that young children who are very overweight are much more likely to be overweight by the time they become adults.

The information about obesity rates came from a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

Very young children are a small percentage of the entire population of the United States, however. The rates of obesity for adults has remained about the same, and has increased for women over 60.

About a third of adults, and 17 per cent of youths in the U.S. are obese, according to the survey.

No one knows for sure why the obesity rates for young children have dropped but there are probably a number of factors. For instance, young children are drinking fewer sugary drinks than they used to. Sugary drinks, like pop, contain a lot of calories and very little nutrition.

One researcher said families with children have been buying healthier foods over the last 10 years, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper.

Also, there have been some programs in the U.S. designed to help families lead healthier lifestyles. Michele Obama, the wife of U.S. President Barack Obama, has led a major push to help kids eat healthier and exercise more.

In a statement, she said she is “thrilled at the progress” that has been made.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
In order to decrease obesity rates, several changes need to happen with individual people, families and cities. Think of at least 15 changes that people, families and cities can make in order to decrease obesity in their own lives and the lives of others.

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
Michele Obama is a champion for healthy eating and exercise. One change that she would like to make is to nutrition labels on food. She would like the labels that show the calories and sugar content of food items to be larger and more obvious to consumers.

Changes like this, however, take a long time. For example, if nutrition labels do change, it will take approximately two years. Why do you think it takes so long to make changes such as these?

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Verbs
One of the best ways to be healthy is to move and be active. Words that show activity are verbs. Write a list of 20 verbs. Circle the top 5 verbs that would be effective in helping people to maintain a healthy weight.