Despite the decline in calories, obesity rates among children remain relatively unchanged. So Suarez opened the discussion with an appropriate question:

“I know there are caveats and things to be further explained, but just the gross statistics, adults consuming fewer calories from fast food, children consuming fewer calories overall, that’s good news, isn’t it?”

Michael Moss, the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of a new book, Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (adapted in a fascinating February 24 New York Times Magazine cover story) wasn’t so sure. And neither was William Dietz, the former director of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Deitz argued that the CDC data suggest economic factors and declining rates of physical activity as more plausible explanations for the results, and said that a much more focused effort must be made to change child obesity rates.

They all agreed that the findings should be taken with a grain of salt. (Sorry!)

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Sibyl Shalo Wilmont is a healthcare journalist and emergency department nurse with insider experience in the pharmaceutical industry, academic medicine, and patient advocacy. She is a graduate student in Hunter College's dual-degree Master's in Community/Public Health Nursing/Master's in Public Health program. Follow her on Twitter @nursesibyl.