NEW YORK— Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that childhood obesity rates have dropped in New York City due to improved child nutrition and exercise.
“This year our city saw a record decrease in the number of New Yorkers who smoke, and now we have even more good news about New Yorkers’ health,” said Bloomberg, noting that the declining childhood obesity goes against nationwide trends. “Children who are more physically fit have fewer health problems—and fewer trips to the hospital. That’s great news for kids and their families, and for taxpayers, too.”
NYC FITNESSGRAM measured city’s youth in kindergarten through eighth grade, finding that obesity decreased by 5.5 percent, on average. Childhood obesity decreased across all age groups, neighborhoods, and ethnicities, although white and Asian children, as well as those who live in low poverty areas, had the largest decrease. The largest drop was observed in children 5 to 6 years of age.
The results were released in the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.City’s recent initiatives to make fresh food more available include healthier snacks in vending machines at city buildings. Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) also provides incentives for supermarkets to open in “food deserts,” or areas with extremely few fresh food options.
On Aug. 24, a supermarket in the South Bronx brought “healthy living to what’s considered to be the poorest and hungriest district in America,” according to Assemblyman Eric Stevenson.
Although obesity reductions are encouraging, “the uneven gains among minorities and those with lower incomes highlight the need for further targeted measures to reduce childhood obesity,” stated the CDC.