Counting the Calories That Lead to Childhood Obesity

It's impossible not to notice the obvious evidence of the many risk factors that have led to the current epidemic of childhood obesity in a recent Harvard study about kids overeating, under-exercising or, most likely, both.

Scientists tracked the height and weight gains of some 5,000 children from ages 2-7, and then a decade later during their teen years to calculate an "energy gap" between how many calories patients ate and how much they really need.

The average gap in calories among some young patients stretched as much as 165 daily, according to the study, paving the way to obesity. That's not the worst of it: Obese children are eating as many as 1,000 calories more a day. And, in a related study, these unhealthy kids are getting more than a third of those additional empty calories from sugary soft drinks.

The sad fact about childhood obesity is that it's easily preventable and requires but a modest investment of effort on your part. A trio of recommendations that will make all the difference to the health of your child today:

Pediatrics, Vol. 188, No. 6, December 2006: 1721-1733 Free Full Text Study

USA Today December 5, 2006


Post your comment