According to a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health, the obesity rate among 2- to 4-year-old WIC recipients in Texas was down to 14.9% in 2014, a fairly dramatic drop from 2008, when the rate was 16.9%. There are other signs of progress, or at least stabilization, in state and national childhood obesity rates.
This is good news, suggesting that the work that so many people have been doing may be paying off. Not just in numbers, but in better health for children who are less likely to develop the health problems associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. Even if this progress is real, however, it’s anything but a reason for complacency. The rates are still too high. The costs to our families, and to our healthcare system, are too high. We have to keep working and innovating.
This month, Texas Health Journal tells the stories of some of the people throughout the UT family who are part of that ongoing effort. In this issue, we’re featuring a short documentary about a professor who is planting gardens at schools to help acculturate kids to healthy eating; a story on how a healthy diet and exercise can improve outcomes among obese children with cancer; a look at the work of the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute; and a long feature on researchers across the system who are taking multi-level approaches to preventing and reducing childhood obesity.
We’ll be telling the story on Twitter and Facebook as well, so follow and engage with us there.
David Lakey, MD
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer
The University of Texas System