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.