By Reducing Childhood Obesity, Can New York Serve as a Model for Other Cities?
Childhood diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing America today. And when we typically talk about the ailment, we frequently see the link to childhood obesity, which is particularly prevalent in suburban and rural areas where children and their parents drive everywhere.
But childhood obesity and diabetes is also rampant in urban areas, particularly poor neighborhoods. Children in these neighborhoods rarely have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, at least compared to those in more affluent areas. In addition, many of these neighborhoods are dangerous, precluding opportunities to exercise.
But there is good news, and it comes from one of the largest urban areas, New York City. In what will hopefully be a model for other urban areas, the city has seen small, but nonetheless encouraging, improvements in the rates of childhood obesity.
Based on new data from the Centers for Disease Control, the obesity rate of children between five and 14 dropped by over five percent from 2006 and 2011.
And while experts are not unanimous that this drop can be attributed to any one specific initiative, they agree that the city has taken the lead in its anti-obesity efforts, which contain an anti-soda marketing campaign, a ban on trans-fats, and calorie labeling in chain restaurants.