I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a new study is out on childhood obesity in the US, and things don’t look good.
It turns out that one in eight children is obese when they enter kindergarten, and the numbers increase through the elementary school years.
According to a story on BusinessWeek.com, by the eighth grade, 1 in 5 kids in the US is obese and another 17 percent are overweight.
Obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in teenagers since the early 1980s. It puts them at risk for Type 2 diabetes, stroke and arthritis when they get older.
Lead researcher Solveig Cunningham of Emory University recommends that obesity-prevention efforts should be focused on children who are overweight by the age of 5.
Dr. Solveig says we should “target the children who are most susceptible to becoming obese during later childhood and adolescence.”
In the new study, researchers analyzed data from over 21,000 kindergartners. More than 9,000 of these kids were followed through the eighth grade, providing a representative sample of the 3.8 million children who are the same age across the U.S.
The researchers considered a child overweight if he or she was above the 85th percentile for weight as calculated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A child was considered obese if they were above the 95th percentile.
If your child is overweight, a great place to go for help is the American Academy of Pediatrics website for parents, healthychildren.org.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.