Albany experts continue battle against childhood obesity - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany experts continue battle against childhood obesity

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

For the first time in decades, the fight against childhood obesity may be paying off for several states, including Georgia.

According to the CDC, the obesity rate has slightly declined for preschoolers in 19 states and U.S. Territories.

But the battle is certainly not over; experts in Albany are still seeing a consistent rate for children struggling with obesity.

"It's a great stride considering we've been struggling with it for the past 20 to 30 years," said Dr. Tania Smith MD FAAP, owner of Prestige Pediatrics and Board Chair of Youth Becoming Healthy.

The CDC is showing our state among 18 others that are seeing at least a 1% drop in rates for children age two to four. Numbers that may be attributed to states that are taking action to make healthy lifestyles for children.

"I think just the exposure has helped a lot and just a lot of the parents and grandparents are kind of getting on board with the program besides thinking oh this is baby fat and giving kids what they want," said Dr. Smith. "Just the exposure and encouraging everybody to become healthy and coming together as a family."

To keep those numbers lowering, pediatric and nutrition experts still want to stress the importance for kids to eat the right foods and stay active.

Since studies show that they are five times more likely to struggle with weight as an adult if they are overweight or obese between the ages of three and five years.

"Keep giving their children lots of water, decrease the sugary drinks, including the fruit juice. Offer fruits and vegetables as much as possible," said Julie Joiner, Phoebe Putney Registered Dietician and Diabetes Educator. "Put a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter for after school snacks and get them outside and moving as much as you can."

Parents are also encouraged to do things like avoid fast food restaurants, give children low fat milk after two years of age and breast feeding for infants.

"That is wonderful if new moms can do that. I think that's an excellent piece of it," said Joiner.

Currently one in eight preschool aged children are still obese across our nation.

Tennessee, Colorado and Pennsylvania are the only three states to see a slight increase in obesity rates in the US.

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