Childhood Obesity: The 3 Critical Times

An interesting study I posted last week offered a wonderful early-warning checklist for parents looking for the physical clues for childhood obesity. A new report issued during last week's European Congress on Obesity nailed down three important periods that could predict a child's future risk of obesity.

  • Being born too big or small.
  • The preschool era.
  • Early signs of fat buildup during the teen years.

Although there's plenty of research that shows the eating for two excuse is unhealthy for moms and spurs weight gains for their children, it was interesting to learn very small babies also have an increased risk of obesity too, particularly if kids are purposely overfed with the mistaken belief they can catch up with their larger peers.

Weight gains during the preschool period may be the next important period in predicting obesity, particularly those before growth spurts between toddler hood and going to school. (In fact, children who become obese before age 8, tend to become more severely obese adults.) The risk of obesity becomes a much greater certainty (70 percent) later in the lives of kids with weight gains during adolescence.

Dr. Ben Lerner and I are writing a book on this important topic that will be published later this year. Our new book will provide some very specific practical guidelines and we hope it will have a major impact on this epidemic. Until the book comes out, here are three powerful recommendations for you and your child to follow:

USA Today June 5, 2005

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