Dramatic Drop In Childhood Obesity, Tooth Decay Rates

Oct 21, 2014

Credit Nicole McCracken

State health officials say a survey shows there’s progress being made in the battle against childhood obesity in New Hampshire.

A statewide survey that tracked the actual weights of third-graders finds obesity rates have dropped by a whopping 30 percent since 2008.

Director of Public Health José Montero says when he saw the numbers, he recalculated them all himself to make sure there wasn’t a mistake.

He says they’re correct, and mark a tremendous step forward in childhood health.

"If we get them to be healthier today we are going to prevent them [from being] obese adolescents and obese adults. So this is really incredible good news," says Montero.

In 2008, the state received a $2.2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create an obesity prevention program.

The survey, which has been given to 3,000 third-graders across New Hampshire each year, also showed untreated tooth decay has dropped by 32 percent.

That includes a 54 percent drop in tooth decay in Coos County.

Montero points to increased access to healthful foods, programs encouraging exercise, better access to dental care, and collaboration between the state and the private sector.