The latest CDC report on childhood obesity across the nation has positive news with childhood obesity decreasing in many states.

Experts attribute drops in childhood obesity rates to a few initiatives, including alterations to the Women Infant and Children (WIC) program that improves dietary guidelines, an increase in breastfeeding, and programs like Let’s Move!, the cause championed by First Lady Michelle Obama to promote a healthy and active lifestyle among the nation’s youth.

This is good news for the nation; however, as a state, Nebraska does not have much to celebrate. Rates of childhood obesity across the state have remained steady and that’s a cause of concern.

One national statistic estimates that 1 in 8 preschoolers are overweight or obese and that those who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are five times more likely to obese as adults than their peers at a normal weight. This is partly due to the fact that habits form at a young age, so unhealthy lifestyle in preschool often sets the tone for the child’s lifetime.

In Nebraska, one estimate is that 1 in 3 children is overweight or obese. The detrimental effects of being overweight or obese have been well-documented.

KHAS-TV spoke to one dietitian who suggested that Nebraska is doing well with health initiatives in elementary schools and beyond, but not doing enough to promote healthy lifestyle to preschoolers.

This dietitian—Shannon Frink of Grand Island Hyvee—advises promoting initiatives like Rethink Your Drink, a campaign to get children to make better beverage choices, eschewing sugary sodas in favor of healthier options like water and milk.

Half of excess calorie consumption comes from sugary beverages, says Jazmin Yacama, another dietitian with the Central District Health Department.

Here’s a sample of one of the PSAs Let’s Move! released:

http://youtu.be/1BN5GaqtmRc

This is just one example of something that can be done to improve Nebraska’s childhood obesity epidemic. More information can be found at:

www.letsmove.gov

www.healthykidshealthyfuture.org

www.healthiergeneration.org

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