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Severe Childhood Obesity Decreases in New York City

Appearing to buck national trends, the prevalence of severe obesity among school children in New York City was down by almost 10 percent in the 2010-11 school year from 2006-07, researchers reported last month. The study, published in the journal, Preventing Chronic Disease, measured the height and weight dimensions of approximately 947,765 children attending public schools ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Compared to data collected from the 2006 – 2007 school year, severe obesity decreased from effecting 6.3 % of the children to 5.7% in 2010-11. Sophia Day of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, among other researchers, suggest that the change represents a 9.5% decrease.

In the New York study, the rate of severe obesity was greatest among boys, minorities and poor children. Even though a decrease was seen in every group, the most evident decline was among white students and wealthy students. Asheley Cockrell Skinner, an expert on childhood obesity at the University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine, said "Wealthier families have access to things poor families do not — everything from soccer camp to safe neighborhood playgrounds.”

Consistent with data from 2011-2012, Skinner and Dr. Joseph Skelton of Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, reported last month in JAMA Pediatrics that 8% of 2-to-19-year-olds are severely obese. This is considered an increase of 6% from 2005-06.

There is no clear explanation or origin for these advancements against severe childhood obesity in New York, but there are programs such as our GoGirlGo! that are designed to help fight the obesity battle… and they seem to be working. GoGirlGo! is a national program with a targeted presence dedicated to getting New York girls, ages 8-18, moving and physically active in order to overcome the severe childhood obesity struggle that many children face. However, this program not only has a dedicated presence in New York City, but also works to fight childhood obesity in underserved communities across the U.S.

Learn more about GoGirlGo! here.