Do Overweight Kids Become Obese Adults?

Considering the rising rates of obesity in this country, it's no surprise when those bad eating habits began. According to a study of 600 kids I posted late last month, about 80 percent of them became obese before age 6! But what about those kids who haven't faced that challenge yet? Researchers have found children and young teens who aren't overweight but in the higher range of normal weight are much more likely than leaner kids to become obese adults.

Scientists studied some 300 Boston area children who ranged in age from 8-15 when their vitals were first recorded, then examined them about a decade later. Sad to say, almost half of the boys and a quarter of the girls grew up to become overweight or obese between visits.

Based on the body mass index (BMI) classification devised by the Centers for Disease Control, kids with a score between 85-95 are considered "at risk" and above 95 as overweight. However, this new study demonstrates how those BMI estimates woefully understate the true risks of obesity.

  • Kids scoring between the 50-74 on the BMI scale were five times more likely to become overweight.
  • Girls in the 75-84 percentile were up to 20 times more likely to become overweight young adults.
  • Boys in that above group were four times more likely to have high blood pressure as young adults.

No matter what the numbers say, what your genes may seem to be telling you or what your family history has been, there's plenty you can do to prevent or curtail the epidemic of childhood obesity in your home right now:

Obesity Research, Volume 13, Number 1, pgs. 163-169

Yahoo News March 10, 2005

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