Nation & World Briefs 02-26-14 Gov't study: Preschooler obesity decrease, experts wary of declaring victory

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ATLANTA -- Toddler obesity shrank sharply in the past decade, a new study suggests. While promising, it's not proof that the nation has turned a corner in the battle against childhood obesity, some experts say.

The finding comes from a government study considered a gold-standard gauge of trends in the public's health.

The researchers discovered that obesity among children ages 2 to 5 decreased -- to 8 percent, from 14 percent a decade ago. That would represent a 43 percent drop.

But the only decline was seen in preschoolers, not in older children. And some experts note that even the improvement in toddlers wasn't a steady decline, and say it's hard to know yet whether preschooler weight figures are permanently curving down or merely jumping around.

It is enough of a decline to be optimistic, said Cynthia Ogden, one of the study's authors.

"There's a glimmer of hope," said Ogden, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Child dies from infected rat: A San Diego family is suing Petco after the death of their 10-year-old son from a bacterial infection they say he contracted from his pet rat. Attorney John Gomez told Associated Press on Tuesday that his firm filed the lawsuit Monday in San Diego County seeking an unspecified amount for the suffering endured by the Pankey family, whose son, Aidan, died June 12, 2013, hours after he was rushed to the hospital with severe stomach pains. The San Diego County medical examiner's office ruled that the cause of death was streptobacillus moniliformis infection, commonly known as rat-bite fever, after exposure to an infected rat. The retailer in a statement expressed its condolences.

Few women want combat jobs: Only a small fraction of Army women say they'd like to move into one of the newly opening combat jobs, but those few who do say they want a job that takes them right into the heart of battle, according to preliminary results from a survey of the service's nearly 170,000 women. That survey and others across the Army, publicly disclosed for the first time to Associated Press, also revealed that soldiers of both genders are nervous about women entering combat jobs but say they are determined to do it fairly. Men are worried about losing their jobs to women; women are worried they will be seen as getting jobs because of their gender and not their qualifications. Both are emphatic that the Army must not lower standards to accommodate women.

Mexico is keeping Guzman: Mexico made clear Tuesday it is determined to keep Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in its highest-security prison for the foreseeable future, putting off U.S. extradition in a move that could bolster President Enrique Pena Nieto's nationalist credentials but also shine a spotlight on the country's woeful judicial system. Experts said Pena Nieto's administration and those of his predecessors have proven unable to match headline-grabbing arrests like Guzman's with complex, long-term investigations and prosecutions of deep-rooted criminal networks. Cases have stalled and cartels have continued to operate. Last year, one of Guzman's closest allies walked out of the prison where the U.S. said he was running drugs from behind bars.

Debbie Dingell to seek seat: Democrat Debbie Dingell will run for the House seat currently held by her husband, John, who announced this week that he will retire after the longest congressional career in history, a Democratic official said Tuesday. Debbie Dingell, 60, is chairwoman of the Wayne State University Board of Governors, a former executive with General Motors and a member of the Democratic National Committee. She had been widely expected to seek the southeast Michigan seat in a district that President Barack Obama won comfortably in 2012 and 2008. Democrats are expected to easily hold the seat. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to publicly discuss the plans by name ahead of a formal announcement.

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