Chicago Childhood Obesity Rates Slim Down

March 16, 2010

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New data released Tuesday find the rate of obesity in some Chicago children has shrunk. But childhood obesity rates are still well above the national average.

The new numbers from Children's Memorial Hospital show 22 percent percent of kids entering Chicago schools in 2008 were obese. That's down two percentage points since 2003, but is still more than twice the national rate for children in roughly the same age group.

Doctor Adam Becker is with the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children.

He says the decrease is good news - but there are still many obstacles to getting Chicago kids to eat right and exercise.

BECKER: You know, in Chicago we talk about "food deserts" - that there are certain pockets of our city where it's really difficult for people to get access to healthy food that's affordable, convenient, et cetera.

Becker says having safer neighborhoods would encourage kids to play outside or bike to school.

The study also found children from low-income or black neighborhoods are more likely to be obese.