There are some promising signs in the battle against childhood obesity, as a new study shows obesity among toddlers went down sharply over the last decade. The government study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that 8 percent of children ages 2 to 5 were found to be obese, down 43 percent from a decade ago.


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Here's more details from an AP report:

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.

But there were two exceptions: For some reason experts aren't sure about, the obesity rate in women age 60 and older rose from 31.5 percent to more than 38 percent. And the preschool obesity rate dropped.

Jon Scott discussed the hopeful findings today with Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, assistant professor of anesthesiology and rehabilitation at NYU School of Medicine. She pointed out that the latest figure of eight percent obesity among toddlers is still a high number and "a little bit concerning."

"You wonder why, especially for that age. Parents or other adults are still buying them their food, so it's not like they're subject to so much advertising. In terms of physical activity, regular play is what they need. They don't really need to get a gym membership," she said.

Watch the rest of the discussion in the video above.


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