A new report reveals the first evidence of a national decline in childhood obesity, health officials said Tuesday. The study released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows slight declines in obesity rates among preschoolers living in low-income homes in 19 states and U.S. territories.

According to the report, the rates of childhood obesity that had been steadily rising for decades finally began to level off between 2003 and 2008, and then did something completely different — they began to decline from 2008 to 2011. CDC researchers analyzed the weight and height of nearly 12 million children, ages two to four, who participated in federally funded maternal and child nutrition programs.

A majority of U.S. adults, one-third (35.7 percent) of which are now obese, start off as overweight or obese children. In fact, preschoolers who are overweight or obese are five times more likely to be overweight or obese as adults than normal-weight preschoolers. But, a decline in obese preschoolers is a hopeful indication of future trends to follow.

"This is the first time we have this many states in the U.S. showing a decline," Heidi Blanck, a researcher for the CDC, told The New York Times.

"Although obesity remains an epidemic, the tide has turned for some kids in some states," Tom Frieden, CDC director, said in a statement. "While the changes are small, for the first time in a generation they are going in the right direction. Obesity in early childhood increases the risk of serious health problems for life."

Nevertheless, according to the CDC's findings, an estimated one in every eight preschoolers is obese in the U.S. Of those obese children, about one in five (19 percent) is black and one in six (16 percent) is Hispanic. By the time these individuals reach adulthood, the obesity numbers skyrocket to 49.5 percent of black adults and 39.1 percent of Hispanics.

Recently, the American Medical Association voted to officially recognize obesity as a disease. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. According to Reuters, obesity-associated costs add $190 billion to the annual national healthcare price tag, topping smoking-related costs. Compared to a non-obese individual, whose annual medical spending adds up to about $512, an obese person's medical care costs six times more at $3,271 every year.

As obesity tends to plague low-income families (and often due to poor eating habits being passed down from parent to child), the CDC released parenting advice along with its study. The CDC strongly recommends starting children's days off with healthy breakfasts, in addition to regularly measuring their weight, height, and body mass index. Attending local farmers' markets to pick up fruits and vegetables is also suggested, along with walking to local playgrounds and parks to play.

The CDC also placed responsibility for the future of children's health on state and local officials, suggesting that they make healthy foods more affordable and accessible. The report also advocated for more gyms, playgrounds, and sports fields to be open during non-school hours.