Vol. 4 No. 1, November 2010©2011 Arabella Advisors
Currently, more than 10 percent of U.S. two- to ve-year-olds is obese, double the percentage from 30 years ago, andrecent studies show that many toddlers don’t eat a singledaily serving of fruits or vegetables.
Yet despite high-prolerecent eorts to ght obesity among school-aged children,few funders currently focus specically on improving nutri-tion and addressing obesity in early childhood—during theformative preschool years when many long-term eating andexercise habits take shape. The challenges literally begin at birth. Consistent breast-feeding has been linked to both healthier eating habits inchildhood and to lower rates of obesity, yet breastfeedingrates remain far below national recommendations. Ratesare especially low among black and Hispanic children,who also have more rapid weight gain in infancy—a factorcontributing to obesity later in life.
The challenges also disproportionately aect poor children. The obesity rate among preschoolers from low-incomehomes is nearly 15 percent, and among some Native Ameri-can populations, it is greater than 20 percent. Ensuring thatall families and childcare providers have the informationand support they need to promote proper nutrition froman early age is critical.Also critical is the quality of meals, snacks, and exerciseprograms provided in early childcare settings, where over 60percent of U.S. children between three and ve are enrolled.
About 3.2 million young children from low-income homesreceive meals in such settings through the federal Childand Adult Food Care Program (CACFP).
Eorts to improvethe quality of those meals are underway, but signicantimprovements at the federal level are likely many years o.Meanwhile, opportunities to improve nutritional andphysical activity standards at the state level abound.
FACT: One in every three U.S. children is overweight or obese.Over half of obese children become overweight at or before age two.
1. http://www.letsmove.gov/obesitytaskforce.php2. http://medical.gerber.com/nirf/cm2/upload/20446F1F-6EB9-4D23-9151-759BC6F598B3/2385_FITS08-PrelimFind-FINALv2-05.pdf 3. http://www.rwjf.org/humancapital/product.jsp?id=563314. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/tables/dt09_043.asp
Increasing Impact through Early Engagement
Donors can leverage national atten-tion on childhood obesity by ocus-ing on younger children. A growingbody o research shows that impacting children ata young age is likely to have signifcant beneftsdown the road, and growing rates o obesity makeimmediate action critical.
Source: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey;
P e r c e n t o f c h i l d r e n a g e d 1 2 - 1 9 w h o a r e o b e s e B O Y S G I R L S B O Y S G I R L S B O Y S G I R L S
Non-Hispanic WhiteNon-Hispanic BlackHispanics16.7%14.5%19.8%29.2%25.5%17.5%
Childhood Obesity Rates by Race,Ethnicity, and Gender, 2007-08