By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia’s fight against childhood obesity is paying off. While it’s still a huge problem, students are losing weight, especially minorities which is a first. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on the new report.
Childhood obesity rates are going down in Philadelphia schools, according to new research. The biggest drops were seen among African Americans and Hispanics, which have the highest obesity rates.
Recent changes in Philadelphia school cafeterias appear to be paying off. There’s lower fat milk, no more sugary drinks or deep fried food.
The new CDC journal study says there’s been a five percent decline in childhood obesity rates between 2006 and 2010.
“We’re pleased that our children may have the opportunity to not suffer as much as we were afraid kids would, with growing rages of obesity. Maybe we’ve begun to turn a corner,” said Dr. Donald Schwarz, the Philadelphia Health Commissioner.
He says the study covered 120,000 students between the ages of five to 18.
The study also found an eight percent decrease among African American boys and a seven percent decrease among Hispanic girls. Philadelphia minority students are the only ones in the country who are losing weight.
“Philadelphia is the first to report that, first to see it, so we’re excited,” said Dr. Schwarz.
Dr. Schwarz hopes the new Get Fit Philly campaign, which includes selling fresh produce in corner stores, adding more bike lanes, and offering farmers markets, that take food stamps, throughout the city will soon show even greater progress.
“Making people aware of obesity and then providing people with the opportunity to control their weight by exercise and better diet we think could make a substantial difference to the rates of obesity in Philadelphia,” said Dr. Schwarz.
Studies show obesity puts children at risk for conditions including high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.