Nightly News   |  February 25, 2014

Why Childhood Obesity Has Dropped Among Young Children

The scales have been tipping in the right direction, especially among children participating in obesity prevention programs.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> turn to this stunning news today about the obesity epidemic in america. it just broke late in the day , and the news is this. researchers say there's evidence of a dramatic drop in obesity among young children. and new questions about what's behind it. it's not all good news across the board, however, we get details on all of it tonight from nbc's rehema ellis.

>> the report presents encouraging news in the fight against obesity among children. researchers tracked two to five-year-olds and found the obesity rate went from 14% in 2003 to 8% in 2012 . that's a steunning 43% decline in obesity. it's one of the first clear signs the scales are tipping in the right directions. especially among children participating in obesity prevention programs. and doctors say it's imperative to start healthy habits long before kindergarten.

>> for parents who think that it's just baby fat and they're going to grow out of, they're saying, think again.

>> yes, kids do not grow out of their baby fat any more. that just doesn't happen, because of the super sized portions and the unhealthy foods that we're eating. they don't grow out of their fat any more. we need to treat them as soon as possible.

>> reporter: the first lady, michelle obama , known for her fight against childhood obesity said healthier habits are becoming the new norm. there is also caution. researchers say these young children are just a small fraction of the american population. overall numbers of obesity have not changed. and for women over 60, the obesity rate has increased. brian?

>> let's hang on to good news we did get today.