Obesity Rate Among U.S. Kids Aged 2 To 5 Drops 43%

'The scales are tipping,' says Centers for Disease Control director Tom Frieden

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Obesity rates among toddlers in the United States have dropped dramatically over the past decade, according to newly released government data.

The Centers for Disease Control said in a press release that the obesity rate for American children in the two to five-year-old demographic dropped from 14 percent in 2003-04 to just above 8 percent in 2011-12, a 43 percent decrease. The rates were calculated from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

“We continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “This confirms that at least for kids, we can turn the tide and begin to reverse the obesity epidemic.”

While the exact reasons for the drop in obesity are unknown, the CDC cited reduced consumption of sugary drinks, improvement in breastfeeding rates and better nutrition and physical education programs at day care centers as possible factors.

First Lady Michelle Obama responded to the CDC report saying she was “thrilled at the progress we’ve made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans.” Obama has been an outspoken advocate for children’s health and was due to unveil the administration’s new restrictions on marketing of junk foods Tuesday as part of her “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity.