Preschooler obesity rate down among low-income Iowans - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Preschooler obesity rate down among low-income Iowans

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Preschool-age children from low income families are less obese than they were in 2008, according to a new federal report.

Iowa's obesity rate among 2- to 4-year-olds dropped from 15.1 percent in 2008 to 14.4 percent in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011 was the last year for which data is available.

Iowa joins 18 other states and U.S. territories with decreases in low-income, preschool-age obesity rates.

"Although obesity clearly remains a challenge in Iowa, this report shows progress is being made," said Mariannette Miller-Meeks, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. "While the changes are small, for the first time in a generation they're turning in the right direction."

Miller-Meeks added that early childhood obesity increases the risk of serious problems later in life.

The Iowa Department of Health attributed the decrease to community transformation grants awarded to several Iowa counties to increase the availability of healthy food and raise awareness about healthy eating.

The department also credits programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, which encourages breastfeeding; and the Healthiest State Initiative, which encourages daily exercise, healthy food choices and wellness.

For the full report, click here.

For more information on childhood obesity from the CDC, click here.

For information on the Healthiest State Initiative, click here.

For information on breastfeeding rates, click here.

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