Published on 31/01/2014
Young children who are overweight are four times as likely to be obese by the time they are teenagers, a US study has found.
Obesity in youth can lead to poor health in adulthood
The study focused on more than 7,000 children whose height and weight were measured seven times between 1998 and 2007. The research was carried out by scientists from Emory University in Atlanta and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The team, led by Solveig Cunningham, found that of all the children entering kindergarten at aged between 5-6 years of age, 12.4% were obese and 14.9% were overweight. By the time they were teenagers and aged 14, 29.8% were obese and 17% were overweight.
The group of young children that were overweight aged 5 years were four times as likely to be obese by the time they were 14 years old than those of normal weight.
Prof Cunningham said: “We have evidence that certain factors established before birth and during the first 5 years are important.
“Obesity prevention efforts focused on children who are overweight by 5 years old may be a way to target children susceptible to becoming obese later in life."
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