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Latest Childhood Obesity Levels: February 2, 2012

With both a baby and a toddler, mom Katie Gorsky is constantly making meals and snacks. She makes a point to keep them healthy.

“I think it’s really important it can help with their development and their growth and it’s better to give them health foods and help fight obesity.”

More moms may be gaining interest in their kids’ weight and nutrition. The CDC released new findings that suggest the level of childhood obesity may be leveling off. Dr. Nancy Witham sees the issue firsthand.

“We’re looking at somewhere around, in Florida anyway, 30% of our pediatric population - that’s children under 17 - are described as overweight or obese,” says Dr. Witham, a pediatrician with Lee Memorial Health System.

Previous studies predicted obesity among children would hit 30% by 2030, but the rapid weight gain seen in children in the 80s and 90s may have leveled off instead of continuing to rise, meaning parents may be getting the message.

“I think parents need to be vigilant about what their child is eating for many, many years. Just like you would about what they watch on television or who they play with,” says Dr. Witham.

Activity is the other side of the coin. Kids today just aren’t getting as much exercise as they should. The study found boys are more likely to be overweight than girls and they’re also more likely to spend their time playing video games.

“Numerous national studies have shown that there is an increase rate of obesity if you’re also leading a sedentary life style. And even though their minds and their thumbs are active if they’re playing their video games that doesn’t construe an active life style,” says Dr. Witham.

Hispanic and black children had higher levels of obesity, reporting 21% and 24%. Keeping her children out of the obesity category has Katie doing her homework.

“I definitely try to read some labels and look at the back and compare some things to others.”

She is planting the seeds to grow healthy kids.