This week’s announcement is exciting. Among major cities, New York City reported the largest decline in child obesity rates to date. Just last month, California also announced similar good news. These reports give us hope and show us it is possible to reverse the epidemic if we work together to help families eat healthy and get active.

New York City’s obesity-prevention efforts are impressive: the city made school meals healthier, expanded out-of-school activity programs, provided in-class physical activity breaks, and routinely measured students’ body mass index.

I am optimistic, but we still have lots of work to do.I’m concerned that obesity rates did not decrease as much for children from lower-income families, or for Black and Hispanic children. In order to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic across the nation, we must address these persistent disparities. There is plenty of opportunity for leaders from government, business, education and other areas to do more to make their communities healthier and to make healthy choices easy choices for families.

James S. Marks, M.D., M.P.H.
Senior Vice President Health Group