US sees slight decline in obesity among poor children

WASHINGTON - The United States has seen a slight decline in obesity among low-income preschoolers for the first time in decades, according to government figures.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a slight decline in 19 states from 2008-2011.

Around one in eight preschoolers in the United States is obese, and children who are overweight or obese between the ages of three and five are five times more likely to be overweight or obese adults, the CDC said, citing previous research.

"Although obesity remains epidemic, the tide has begun to turn for some kids in some states," said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

"While the changes are small, for the first time in a generation they are going in the right direction. Obesity in early childhood increases the risk of serious health problems for life." First Lady Michelle Obama, who has championed efforts to promote healthy eating and more active lifestyles among children, hailed the latest numbers.

"Today's announcement reaffirms my belief that together, we are making a real difference in helping kids across the country get a healthier start to life," she said.

For the study, the CDC measured the weight and height of nearly 12 million children aged two to four years old who take part in government-funded maternal and nutrition programs.

More than a third of American adults are obese, according to the CDC.

Obesity is particularly common in poorer American communities that lack access to high-quality produce and well-stocked supermarkets.