RI doctor on fewer younger obese kids

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Parents always want the best for their kids. Finding a good mix between treats that taste good and food that’s good for you can be difficult for a busy parent. And therefore, childhood obesity has been growing for years as a major parental concern.

Now, not just in Rhode Island, but nationwide, the trend may be going in the right direction — when it comes to little kids.

Dr. Siva Vithiananthan, a bariatric surgeon and the site director of surgical education at The Miriam Hospital, has been studying obesity in Rhode Island for fifteen years. He says the state has room for improvement when it comes to overall obesity rates.

If you or someone you know is concerned about obesity:

But there’s been major progress when it comes to young children.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control on childhood obesity shows obesity rates in children 2 to 5 years old have decreased significantly over the past decade. Researchers found that just over 8% of children in that age group were obese in 2011-12, down from nearly 14% in 2003-04.

“If you’re an obese baby, you’re going to become an obese child, and an obese adult,” said Dr. Vithiananthan.

School programs have helped grow awareness of childhood obesity around the United States, the doctor said. Parents can also promote healthy lifestyles with kids right at home.

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