The number of obese New York City schoolchildren fell by 5.5 percent over five years, federal and city officials said recently, offering a glimmer of optimism about one of the country’s intractable health scourges.
The decline, documented by annual fitness exams given to most of the city’s kindergarten through eighth-grade students, was the biggest reported by any large city. Over all, the rate of obesity dropped in New York City to 207 children per 1,000 in the 2010-11 school year, down from 219 five years earlier, meaning that 20.7 percent were still considered obese.
“This comes after decades of relentless increases,” Dr. Thomas A. Farley, the city’s health commissioner, said Thursday. While the 5.5 percent drop may seem slight, he said, “What’s impressive is the fact that it’s falling at all.”