Preschool Obesity Down In Several States, Not In Oregon

By Rob Manning

Several Western states - including California, Washington, and Idaho — saw obesity rates decline in a new national health study. Oregon 's not one of them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the height and weight of preschoolers measured at nutrition clinics between 2008 and 2011.

Nearly half the states studied have cut obesity rates for youngsters from low-income families. But the rate in Oregon hasn't budged. It's 15 percent - slightly higher than the national average.

Oregon deputy epidemiologist, Bruce Gutelius, says the state has made progress.

Bruce Gutelius: "We did see several decades previously where the prevalence of obesity was rising in this age group. To see that we've gotten to a point where that's steady, is actually encouraging news, because that's the first step, obviously, to see these same decreases that some other states are experiencing."

Gutelius says the high obesity rate has a number of causes. But he says the state's emphasis on healthy local food and exercise should bring the rate down in the future.

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