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Unsettled science: The dramatic childhood obesity decline that wasn’t

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By Doug Powers  •  March 18, 2014 10:36 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

Three weeks ago, headlines like this one from the New York Times were all over the place:

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The MSM was giddy to report about a big victory for kids’ health last month thanks in part to Michelle Obama’s magic formula: Make school lunches crappy while Elmo chants “yes we can” and just watch the pounds peel away:

The CDC has an excellent present for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign during the program’s fourth anniversary: a new report that says childhood obesity is declining for younger kids — by a lot.

The New York Times calls the decline “stunning,” and here’s why: for children ages 2 to 5, the rate of obesity has dropped from 14 percent in 2004 to about 8 percent in 2012. That’s a drop of 43 percent in childhood obesity.

It turns out that the claim of a dramatic drop in childhood obesity is kind of like Al Gore’s favorite hockey stick graph in reverse.

Via Reuters, the anti-obesity science is not settled:

If the news last month that the prevalence of obesity among American preschoolers had plunged 43 percent in a decade sounded too good to be true, that’s because it probably was, researchers say.

When the study was published in late February in the Journal of the American Medical Association, no one had a ready explanation for that astounding finding by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Indeed, it seemed to catch the experts by surprise.

Anti-obesity campaigners credited everything from changes to the federal nutrition program for low-income women and children to the elimination of trans-fats from fast food, more physical activity in child-care programs and declining consumption of sugary drinks.

First Lady Michelle Obama and others seized on the finding as a sign that efforts to combat the national obesity epidemic were paying off.
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In fact, based on the researchers’ own data, the obesity rate may have even risen rather than declined.

Before reporting the original study, the MSM followed their usual fact check methodology: If you want it to be true, it is.

The Media Research Center writes of how the MSM was of course quick to jump on the “victory for Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’” bandwagon. I’m sure they’ll report about the bogus study with just as much excitement (crickets).

The good news is that since Obama has been in office, there’s been a 65 percent decline in MSM obesity, which lends great credence to the health benefits of water-carrying.

Update:

Heh: “No child’s fat left behind.”

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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