ST. CLOUD - Pre-teen boys in the greater St. Cloud region are slimming down. A report released today (Thursday) by CentraCare Health says the rate of 12-year-old boys who are overweight or obese dropped by 28-percent over six years.  Twenty-nine percent of 12-year-old boys in the region are now overweight, compared to 40 percent in 2008.

However, CentraCare doctor David Tilstra says they did not see the same drop for 12-year-old girls.

Health leaders credit the drop in children with unhealthy weights to the BLEND organization, which stands for Better Living: Exercise, and Nutrition Daily. BLEND has been in the St. Cloud metro area since 2006. Their efforts to lower the obesity rate include: Safe Routes To Schools, and events like the Candy Buy-Back program after Halloween. A couple of their other initiatives include implementing the NuVAL system in the Coborn's Grocery stores and Sartell schools, and the St. Cloud complete streets which states all streets built or rebuilt in the city must include sidewalks or bike lanes.

Tilstra says they're planning to expand the BLEND program into other communities that CentraCare serves, as well as to other age groups. And, Tilstra says they're willing to share their success with other organizations.

When BLEND started in 2006 they had a goal to drop the obesity rate by 10 percent in 2016, a goal that's now been reached two years early.

An international report on obesity:
A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute says that the global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually - nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war and terrorism.

The report released Thursday focused on the economics of obesity and says 2.1 billion people - some 30 percent of the global population - are overweight or obese.

It also offers the stark prediction that nearly half of the world's adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030 should the present trends continue.

McKinsey says there's no single or simple solution to the problem, but global disagreement on how to move forward is hurting progress. The analysis is meant to offer a starting point on the elements of a possible strategy.