Michelle Obama Effect? Obesity Drops Among Low-Income Preschoolers

Source: Barbara Mantel / NBC News

The fight against childhood obesity is beginning to show results, say government researchers.

After rising for decades and then stabilizing somewhat in the mid-2000s, the obesity rate among low-income preschoolers declined by small but statistically significant amounts in 19 states and U.S. territories between 2008 and 2011, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday.

“We are excited because we have seen so much work going on in the past several years at the local, state, and national level, and we believe these changes are beginning to make a difference,” co-author Heidi Michels Blanck told NBC News.

The government initiatives include First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to reduce childhood obesity; improvements in the nutritional content of the food provided by the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and growth in the number of U.S. hospitals enrolled in the World Health Organization’s Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which encourages new moms to breastfeed.

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