There's nothing like a little good news on a Tuesday to totally make the week a little brighter. MNN correspondent, Melissa Breyer's post on the decline in childhood obesity in several cities across the U.S. hit me like a beacon of hope in what has otherwise been a rather sad year for children's health news.
The year started out with some grim news on the childhood obesity front. And all year long we've seen nothing but more of the same - with posts on how childhood obesity affects the mother-child relationship, the rise in kidney stones in teens due in part to increased obesity rates, the link between BPA and childhood obesity, the link between childhood obesity and poor math skills, the prejudices felt by overweight and obese kids, and even how obesity is affecting our pets.
So reading a post about how this troubling trend might just be on the decline gives me hope that maybe this is just the tip of the good news iceberg for children's health. I know I shouldn't break out the bubbly just yet. The trend has only really been identified in a few cities across the country. But what is so inspiring is the vast differences in the cities that are reporting declines.
According to Breyer's post, Philadelphia, which has the highest big-city poverty rate in the country, saw declines, as did New York City, Los Angeles, Anchorage, Alaska, and the little town of Kearney, Nebraska. So it's not just affluent communities that are seeing health improvements, it's kids from a variety of socio-economic environments.
Yet in the report upon which Breyer based her post, researchers noted one very important similarity. "The places that are reporting declines are those that are taking comprehensive action to address the childhood obesity epidemic," said the study's authors.
That means that programs aimed to combat childhood obesity, like Michelle Obama's Let's Move program at the national level and district-wide initiatives to remove soda vending machines from schools are all paying off.
It also means that more communities might soon follow suit in strengthening their own childhood obesity programs. And that means that we might very well see even greater declines across the board in 2013.
And that is some very good news indeed.