The last 2 decades included growing attention and resources dedicated to addressing overweight and obesity in children. Have these efforts had an impact? In some regions and countries, the answer is ‘yes’!
Following on the heels of other promising reports (here, here, here), we recently published a paper in Pediatric Obesity, showing that overweight and obesity in preschoolers (4 to 6 year olds) living in Edmonton and Calgary (Alberta) decreased by ~11% between 2010 and 2017. At the same time, severe obesity remained unchanged, which is in contrast to other research showing the most severe forms of childhood obesity continued to rise over recent years.
The reasons behind these changes? It’s difficult to say (Have we reached a threshold? Have school-based interventions and policies had an impact?), but the high level of excess weight in our children and youth, combined with the high likelihood that excess weight tracks into adulthood, suggests additional effort, resources, and time are needed to learn about what strategies can optimize the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity.