HARRISONBURG, Va. -- According to a report out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity among low-income preschoolers is declining across the country.
The percentage of preschoolers who are obese here in Virginia is between 15 to 20 percent.
Previous research shows that one in eight preschoolers is obese in the United States.
Whitney Thomas said it's all about starting early with kids by teaching them how to eat healthy and exercise more.
Thomas said if a child is obese, dieting is not approached but instead she recommends that the child's weight remain the same as they grow taller.
Thomas said it's also about cutting back on portion sizes.
Another suggestion is cutting out juice and sodas entirely.
Thomas said a problem is that parents get worried because they don't think their child is eating enough.
Thomas said that leads to some parents letting their kids eat junk food, such as cookies, just so kids can have something in their system.
"Their hunger cues are more in tune with them than they are with adults. So if parents can just let their kids eat when they're hungry and not try to force them to eat when they're not hungry, that's a basic principle," said Thomas.
Thomas said it may take 10 times or even 15 times for kids to start eating fruits and vegetables, but it's something that's worth the effort for them to be healthy.