Childhood Obesity Rates in NYC Decline… Slightly


Marion Nestle reports a scintilla of good news: childhood obesity rates in New York City have dipped by an average of 5.5%.

The Bloomberg administration says the numbers are a result of its anti-obesity initiatives, some focused especially on children. Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley told the New York Times that he attributes

the progress partly to the city’s aggressive advertising campaign against sugary sodas, which he said may have altered what parents were providing to their children. The city has also tried to add healthier options to school lunch menus, enacted strict rules on the calorie and sugar content of snacks and drinks in school vending machines, and even put limits on bake sales, a move that caused some grumbling.

As I explained to Bloomberg News, if this trend continues, it will represent the first truly positive development in years.

It also suggests that the health department’s unusually aggressive efforts to address obesity may be paying off.

According to the CDC report she links to, obesity rates for K – 8 students declined from 21.9% in 2006–07 to 20.7% in 2010–11.

According to the New York Times, this is the biggest decline reported by any large city in the US. Hopefully, the decline will continue, as city/school district officials continue their efforts.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

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  1. I sure agree with you on this one. I hope this trend continues also. It can only mean good things to our children and our country.

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  2. It’s wonderful news, but I’d take issue with the statement that the initiative against bake sales has anything to do with the decline — the school board ended up preventing children from bringing home-baked goods to schools, while allowing items like Doritos to be sold. This kind of initiative, by promoting processed foods over homemade, can instill in children the very opposite of a healthy relationship with food.
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  3. @Daniel: I wasn’t a big fan of the bake sale restriction either – – for similar reasons.

    As noted here: – I personally think that bake sales are great ways to make a few extra $$$ for the classroom. In addition, they help foster a better sense of community. IMHO, the city schools could have worked with parent groups to control portions, rather than banning homemade items in favor of packaged junk.

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