A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December said childhood obesity in low-income preschoolers appears to have started declining.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 26.7 million children ages 2 through 4 from 30 states and the District of Columbia between 1998 and 2010. The children were eligible for federally funded maternal and child health and nutrition programs.

The prevalence of obesity in this population increased from 13 percent in 1998 to just above 15 percent in 2003. The prevalence of obesity decreased slightly to just below 15 percent in 2010.

The prevalence of extreme obesity increased from 1.8 percent in 1998 to 2.2 percent in 2003. Extreme obesity decreased to 2.1 percent in 2010.

Obesity during early childhood tends to continue into adulthood and has been associated with cardiovascular risk factors, increased health care costs and premature death.

— Anne Aurand, The Bulletin