The CDC study, which included approximately 11.6 million children aged 2-4 years, reported that in 2009-2010 about one in eight (12%) preschoolers between the ages of 2 and 5 in the US were obese. Rates were quite a bit higher for black (19%) and Hispanic (16%) children.
The bad news for Connecticut is that it is among 21 states in the study that demonstrated no change in obesity rates for young children. The lack of improvement is not for lack of attention to the problem, according to Childhood Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI), who point to five years worth of obesity related initiatives including task forces, forums, coalitions, policies, programs, and advocacy efforts.
Since 2004, Connecticut has passed laws that generally address nutrition and physical activity in schools. Laws include restrictions on beverage choices, nutritional standards for food sold to students, and requirements for periods of physical activity, according to CHDI.
During the most recent legislative session, Public Act 13-173 was passed to establish another Task Force on Childhood Obesity. The task force will examine the nutrition standards for all food procured by the state, explore ways to increase physical activity in children and recommend a pilot program through one local or regional board of education to schedule recess before lunch in elementary school, and offer advice for state programs that may reduce the incidents of childhood obesity.
The CHDI will focus on prevention and promoting healthy development beginning in children's earliest years. The Institute plans to summarize the findings on evidence-based approaches to obesity prevention, especially for very young children and their families, and gather information to report on efforts underway in Connecticut.
What do you think it will take to reduce childhood obesity in Connecticut? Is there adequate opportunity for children to exercise during school PE class and recess? Do you think school lunch programs need an overhaul?