More broadly, health officials last year reported at least slight drops in obesity for low-income preschoolers in 18 states. But they mainly were children enrolled in the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which provides food vouchers and other services. Experts attributed the improvement to WIC policy changes in 2009 that eliminated juice from infant food packages, provided less saturated fat, and made it easier to buy fruits and vegetables.
The new study is a national survey of about 9,100 people — including nearly 600 infants and toddlers — in 2011-2012, in which participants were not only interviewed but weighed and measured. The results were compared to four similar surveys that stretched back to 2003.
“I think it’s fair to say that (this study) is probably the best source of data we have on whether the prevalence of obesity is increasing with time,” said Dr. Robert C. Whitaker, a Temple University expert of childhood obesity.
The main finding was that, overall, both adult and childhood obesity rates have held flat in the past decade. And there were no significant changes in most age groups.
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