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Overweight Parents Increase Their Childrens' Risk

The factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents, according to a new study. By identifying the risk factors that lead to childhood obesity, researchers hope to pave the way toward preventive measures.

The findings presented in the study suggest children at risk for obesity may be identifiable in the first few years of life, according to a research group who assessed both established and hypothesized risk factors. They believe several of the identified risk factors are amenable to intervention, which could lead to the development of early prevention programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established two categories of overweight children:

  • Those who are "at risk," meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) above the 85th percentile.
  • Those considered "severe" or a BMI above the 95th percentile.

In the most recent survey, more than 30 percent of children were considered at risk. And the prevalence of severely overweight children, 15 percent, has doubled over the past two decades.

EurekAlert July 8, 2004

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