obesity-in-children

A new study has shown that an early start to living a healthy lifestyle will go a long way into one’s adult life. Scientists tell us that 80 percent of obese children are likely to become obese adults.

Our message to parents is to intervene now if you think your son or daughter is eating the wrong things. Get your child up and moving. With caring parents who make a commitment to eat dinner together, with children sitting down to have meals with their family, it changes their relationship with food. Most overweight kids ingest a disproportionate amount of their calories in sweetened beverages, which feed the need for more sugar and wreck their metabolism.

quoted from NEW YORK TIMES, dated Friday January 30, 2014

For many obese adults, the die was cast by the time they were five years old.

 

A major new study reported in the New York Times of more than 7,000 children in United States has found that a third of children who were overweight in kindergarten were obese by eighth grade, when most American children turn 13. And almost every child who was very obese remained that way.

Some obese or overweight kindergarten pupils lost their excess weight, and some children of normal weight got fat over the years. But every year, the chances that a child would slide into or out of being overweight or obese diminished.

 

By age 11, there were few additional changes: Those who were obese or overweight stayed that way, and those whose weights were normal did not become fat.

 

These results, surprising to many experts, arose from a rare study that tracked children’s body weight for years, from kindergarten through eighth grade.

 

Experts say the results may reshape approaches to combating the obesity epidemic in the United States, suggesting that efforts must start much earlier and focus more on children at greatest risk.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, do not explain why the effect occurs. Researchers say it may be a combination of genetic predispositions to being heavy and environments that encourage overeating in those prone to it.

 

But the results may explain why efforts to help children lose weight have often failed. The steps may have aimed too broadly at all schoolchildren, rather than starting before children enrolled in kindergarten and concentrating on those who were already fat at very young ages.

 

The study involved 7,738 children from a nationally representative sample. Researchers measured the children’s height and weight seven times between kindergarten and eighth grade.

 

When the children entered kindergarten, 12.4 per cent were obese – with a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile – and 14.9 per cent were overweight, with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile. By eighth grade, 20.8 per cent were obese, and 17 per cent were overweight.

 

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