"However, there is still much that needs to be done to encourage our families and children to be healthy," she said.
Educating parents as well as children on the importance of healthful food and regular physical activity may help shift cultural habits in a more positive direction. Limiting the number of fast-food restaurants in low-income areas and around schools may also make a dent in childhood obesity rates, Heller said.
"Bringing the healthy lifestyle message into the schools will be helpful as well. Nutrition programs and physical activity programs in schools for children of all ages should be a required part of the curriculum, and can help turn the tide toward reducing childhood obesity," she said.
The study was published in the Jan. 18 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
For more information on childhood obesity, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Jackson Sekhobo, Ph.D., M.P.A., director, research and evaluation, division of nutrition, New York State Department of Health; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator, Center for Cancer Care, Griffin Hospital, Derby, Conn.; Jan. 18, 2013, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
All rights reserved