Many Kids Already Overweight by Preschool

Millions of U.S. children are overweight, 17 percent are obese, and a large portion begin their battle with weight by the time they reach preschool -- and are just 3 years old. Past studies have found that toddlers who are overweight in preschool have a five times higher risk of being overweight at age 12 than lean preschoolers do.

Hispanic children, according to a new study that focused on low-income Americans, found that Hispanic children are at a greater risk of weight problems. While 32 percent of white and black 3-year-olds tracked in the study were overweight or obese, 44 percent of Hispanic tots were.

Although the researchers couldn’t pin down a reason for the disparity among races, they did identify a few risk factors of childhood obesity:

  • Having a mother who is obese
  • Overfeeding
  • Still using a bottle at age 3

Parents, of course, play a major role in whether or not their child maintains a healthy weight. You can help your children dramatically by:

American Journal of Public Health December 28, 2006

Boston.com December 28, 2006