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July 23, 2009

Low-income preschool obesity stabilized

One in seven low-income, preschool U.S. children are obese, but the obesity epidemic in this age group may be stabilizing, federal health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Mortality and Mobility Weekly Report said the prevalence of obesity increased from 12.4 percent in 1998 to 14.5 in 2003, but has since remained essentially the same, with 14.6 percent prevalence in 2008.

Prevalence has remained constant or declined since 2003 among approximately half of CDC Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System contributors and among all racial and ethnic groups except American Indian and Alaska Native children, the report said.

However, childhood obesity remains a serious public health problem, particularly among American Indian and Alaska Native children, the report said.