The absolute decline in the overall obesity rate is roughly 1 percent in five years, he noted. "At that rate of progress, it would take a century to fully reverse the damage done over the past several decades. The rate of obesity is still over 20 percent, and the gains are uneven."
This is a window to a very small part of a nationwide obesity problem, Katz added. "The resources of New York City may be sufficient to produce some good news, but that is not generalizable. We have a long way to go, and will need to build diligently on these modest gains to get there," he said.
"Obesity is still a major health issue in children," Dr. Achiau Ludomirsky, chief of pediatric cardiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, added in a statement. "We can definitely see that the decline in obesity among [New York City] school children is the result of early intervention for better diet, opportunity for physical fitness and the education of students and parents. It is a three-tier effect."
What kids eat and learn away from school is also key. "We can't reduce obesity levels without working closely with the families of students to help them offer better diet options at home and limit a child's time in front of the television, computers and video games," Ludomirsky said.
"But we still have a long way to go," he stressed. "If we don't address the childhood obesity epidemic more proactively right now, it will become a major health issue for the next generation of Americans."
For more on childhood obesity, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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