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Study: overweight children are more likely to become obese

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 01 2014 07:27:28 AM CST

Overweight child study

If that baby fat is still hanging around on your five-year-old, it could be a glimpse into the future.

A study out this week in the News England Journal of Medicine finds children who start kindergarten overweight are 4-times more likely to be obese by age 14 than kids who start school at a healthy weight.

Doctor Jarret Patton with the Children's Clinic at Lehigh Valley Health Network says there are ways to tell if your child has a weight problem.

"We take height and weight measurements at every visit so we can identify the BMI of a child," he explained. "So any time the child presents to our office we will have the opportunity to discuss weight if that is an issue."

The study tracked a nationwide sample of 7,738 children through grade school. When they started kindergarten 12-percent were obese, by 8th grade that jumped to 21-percent. The prevalence of weight problems in the U.S. is no secret, and Dr. Patton sees it first-hand.

"We have an obesity rate of about 30-percent to 35-percent at our office," he shared.

Family lifestyle, income and even genetics can play a role. But it's not too late to act and start battling the bulge. A healthy lifestyle can override the genes your parents passed down.

"Focusing on reducing the amount of sugary drink intake, having regular meals that are loaded with fruits and vegetables, in addition to getting every day exercise is a great way to maintain a healthy weight," Dr. Patton said.

Study in the New England Journal of Medicine:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1309753

BMI:

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_bmi/about_childrens_bmi.html

The Children's Clinic:

http://www.lvhn.org/facilities_directions/community_clinics/children%E2%80%99s_clinic