Overweight kindergartners face increased risk for teen obesity

A new study finds that many kids who are overweight in kindergarten will end up becoming obese by early adolescence.

On its front page, the New York Times reports that the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reveals that “a third of children who were overweight in kindergarten were obese by eighth grade.” What’s more, nearly “every child who was very obese remained that way.”

USA Today reports that the study of some 7,700 youngsters also revealed that “the largest increase in the prevalence of obesity occurred between first and third grade, with 13% of kids being obese in first grade, compared with 19% in third grade.”

Currently, approximately “a third of the nation’s young people are overweight or obese, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” with “the percentage of elementary-school children who are obese” at 18%.

According to the AP, “From kindergarten through eighth grade, the prevalence of obesity increased by 65 percent among whites, 50 percent among Hispanics, almost 120 percent among blacks and more than 40 percent among others – Asians, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans and” youngsters of mixed race. By the time they reached eighth grade, 17 percent of black children had become obese, compared to 14 percent of Hispanics and 10 percent of whites and children of other races.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that an accompanying editorial observes that “the study should lead to some ideas about interventions to prevent obesity, with evidence pointing to ideas ‘that focus on children’s environments and that aim to alter early life systems’ as probably the most effective.”

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