One thing is certain: obesity is a serious health concern that demands our utmost attention. While adults are likely to be the victims, obesity in children is also a grave issue that needs to be accounted for.
An unhealthy lifestyle characterized by a lack of physical activity and excess intake of junk food has only festered the problem further. To add to that, past data would reveal that worldwide, more children are overweight than they ever were.
In fact, with the way the numbers are increasing, some scientists have claimed that by the year 2030, half of the US population at the age of 35 will be obese.
From what you can infer is that the problem is much more consequential than you perceive it to be. But having said that there is a glimpse of positive news from a recent study documented in JAMA. According to the findings, instances of obesity in children have actually been declining since 2014.
Obesity in Children: Declining or Not?
The JAMA study observed the data relating to obesity in children from the year 2000 onwards. Scientists used various indicator to judge whether the child was on track for a healthy lifestyle. The purpose was to check whether cases have been rising or decreasing in the US and the subsequent reasons for the change.
For that matter, the BMI index, routine diet and any changes in the weight were documented. Once the results were compiled, the findings revealed that obesity in children had increased between 2000 to 2014. It peaked in the year 2010 when the highest proportionate of overweight children were found.
However, starting from 2014 onwards up till 2018, the trend has started declining. Which in a wider sense means that childhood obesity cases are decreasing in the US. This was not just true for one single community of children. Rather the trend cut across all racial and ethnic groups in the country.
The reasons put forward have been twofold. One that led the scientists to argue that increased awareness about the concern has actually had some impact. Parents are now more particular about preventing obesity in children. Additionally, a stronger emphasis on P.E and outdoor activities may also be partially responsible.
The Problem with the Study
While the JAMA study did conclude decreased cases of obesity in children, some objections have still been raised.
The strongest argument opposing the findings was that the study observed the data of children aged between 2 to 4. The observations only accounted for the trend within the age group and no other group.
This is particularly a problem because obesity in children properly sets in the post the age. The past studies have shown us exactly that. Pre-teen children or early teenagers are most vulnerable to obesity. By observing a group of children aged in the 2 to 4 brackets may never give us a clear picture of the problem.
On the other hand, there were also concerns relating to the methodology of the experiment.
Suffice to say, we should wait for further research before arriving at a concrete conclusion. However, it is still better for parents to keep a strong check on their child’s diet.