Hopes were dashed this week that the United States was finally making progress in the fight against childhood obesity.
Contrary to previous reports, the epidemic of fat has not abated. In fact, there's been a big jump in obesity among the nation's youngest children, according to the latest analysis of federal data, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
"The main take-home message for me is that, clearly, obesity remains a problem," says Asheley Skinner, an associate professor of population health services at Duke University and leader of the analysis. "It's not improving."
Childhood obesity rates have been rising for decades, sparking widespread alarm among public health researchers and officials. Obese children tend to become obese adults, who are prone to many health problems, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
But hopes rose several years ago that the epidemic might be ebbing, at least in some parts of the country. Some researchers suggested efforts such as Michelle's Obama's Let's Move campaign might be working.