Skip to main content

Let’s Go!’s Response to Latest National Childhood Obesity Data

March 09, 2018

LetsGo Declining Obesity Rates
While new national data show childhood obesity on the rise, Maine’s numbers offer a more promising story. Childhood obesity rates are starting to decline for some groups in Maine.

A study published in the March 2018 issue of Pediatrics shows that the obesity rate for children aged 2-19 has increased from 14.6 percent in 1999 to 18.5 percent in 2016. That means that nationwide, almost 1 in 5 children have obesity. As the study’s authors point out, ongoing efforts to curb obesity “must continue, as must innovation, research, and most importantly at this juncture, collaboration among clinicians, public health leaders, hospitals, and all levels of government.”

Here in Maine, where Let’s Go!, The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, and other community organizations have led such a comprehensive approach to fighting childhood obesity, there are signs of success. In the decade-plus that Let’s Go! has been monitoring childhood obesity rates in Greater Portland, those rates have stabilized. Recent data also show a downward trend specifically among girls aged 3-18, from 13 percent in 2013 to 9.7 percent in 2016.

Data reported from the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey told a similar story. A significant decrease was seen in the percent of third graders who have obesity, reported at 12.3 percent in 2017, down from 20.8 percent in 2015. In addition, the data appear to show a slight downward trend in obesity for fifth graders, from 22.6 percent in 2015 to 19.1 percent in 2017 (All rates cited are based on measured heights and weights).

While there is no single or simple solution to reverse the course of obesity’s rise, evidence points to changing policies and creating environments that support healthy choices as instrumental in the stabilization and reduction of obesity prevalence. The study in Pediatrics recommends the same kind of collaborative, coordinated strategy that Let’s Go! has employed since 2006, both with its earliest partners and most recently with its state collaborator, the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Let’s Go! remains dedicated to increasing opportunities for healthy eating and active living through sustainable environmental and policy change. We are setting a positive example for the nation as a whole that is showing promising results.

News from Around MaineHealth

View All
MaineHealth Awarded $1.2 Million Federal Grant for Statewide Overdose Prevention
Project DHARMA is a collaboration between MaineHealth and several other organizations across the state to prevent overdoses and infections through harm reduction programs.
MMC receives $2M gift from Eric and Peggy Cianchette; The Next 150 Campaign Extended
After raising more than $150 million, MMC is extending its campaign goal to support its increased care and workforce development needs.
PUBLIC NOTICE: MAGNET RECOGNITION PROGRAM® - SITE VISIT
Learn about Maine Medical Center’s upcoming Magnet re-designation site visit, including information on how to submit comment.
Emotional Message by MMC ICU Nurses Earns MaineHealth Videographer a Regional Emmy® Award
Videographer Charlie Berg won in the category of health/medical-short form content for the story entitled, ‘Inside View of Maine Medical Center ICU Nurses Caring for Unvaccinated COVID-19 Patients.’
MaineHealth to Open Food Pantry in Former Greyhound Station
The project is supported in part by a generous $100,000 donation by Former Maine Speaker of the House and U.S. Senate Candidate Sara Gideon.
MMC is Recognized with an 'A" for Safety
The Leapfrog group has given Maine Medical Center an ‘A’ in its hospital safety grade for a 4th consecutive grading period.
Maine Track Celebration Honors Class of 2022
This marks the 14th year of the Maine Track partnership between Maine Medical Center and Tufts Medical School
MMCRI Vector-Borne Disease Lab Showcases Research Ahead of Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Scientists at MMCRI are studying tick-borne illnesses and how climate change is increasing the number of ticks in Maine
Maine Medical Center opens to additional visitors for non-COVID patients
Beginning Friday, April 22, adult inpatients will be allowed multiple visitors a day, and minors under 18 also are allowed to visit.
Federal arbitrator in Indiana rules against Anthem practices that are similar to insurer’s disputed approach in Maine
The problems that led MaineHealth to remove its flagship hospital from the Anthem network starting in 2023 have created controversy across the country.