The first set of positive signs came last year, with reductions in New York City and Philadelphia, which has been mounting a broad assault on obesity since the late 2000s. Earlier this week, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation pulled together a bunch of different studies from programs around the country that are seeing similar progress. They include:
- Mississippi posted a decrease from 43.9 percent of kids being overweight and obese in 2005 to 40.9 percent in 2011, three years after passage of the Mississippi Healthy Students Act.
- An April 2013 analysis showed that obesity rates declined from 10.5 to 8.9 percent in Eastern Massachusetts between 2004 and 2008.
- After years of increasing, 2012 results from New Mexico indicate that the obesity rates among kindergarteners and third graders had leveled off.
- Kids in Kearney, Nebraska in grades one through five saw a 13.5 percent decline in obesity rates between 2005 and 2011.
There are still some trouble spots: Several tests found marked disparities between obesity trends in black students and white students, as well as better results for those insured through non-Medicaid plans than those who had Medicaid (meaning poor students fared worse). But the overall good news is mounting evidence that obvious community-based solutions, like eliminating fried foods in school lunches and educating kids about the need to exercise every day, tend to get results.