Obesity rates leveling off for the nation’s children?

David Ludwig, MD, PhD

Since 1980, national childhood obesity rates have more than tripled. But a new study, released last week, suggests that the percentage of obese children may have reached a plateau. In Massachusetts, the percentage of obese children has remained stable—at 30 percent—since 2003. Nationally, the percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states.

The report, released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes a clever map that charts the percentage of overweight and obese children and adults in all 50 states. Despite this leveling off,  David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Obesity Program, thinks the nation’s obesity problem is far from solved. Here, he weighs in with the Boston Globe about the unacceptably high rate of childhood obesity.

Among the figures:

  • Out of the 10 states with the highest rate of obese and overweight children, eight are in the South
  • Mississippi has the highest level of obese and overweight children, at 44.4 percent.
  • Minnesota and Utah are tied for the lowest rate of obese and overweight children
  • No states saw a decrease in adult obesity

Many people wrongly assume eating healthfully is more expensive and time consuming than eating junk. But you don’t have to choose between good nutrition and good finances! Here, Ludwig offers tips on how to eat well on the cheap.

Also, watch Ludwig talk about healthful eating habits for children and families.

Policy angle: Ludwig argues that the Obama administration’s economic stimulus initiatives should include investment in infrastructure to decrease obesity, providing an immediate and long-term boost to the economy and to public health.