Overweight kids face lifelong challenges

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: September 19th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Rolling the number eleven in dice games is lucky. But children with weight problems at age eleven aren’t so fortunate. In fact, they’re taking a bigger chance at being obese adults, which tips the odds toward weight-related health problems later in life.

British researchers say the tendency toward being overweight is based on a set, internal time clock of sorts. And the alarm sounds as early as age eleven for kids, especially black girls and children from deprived socioeconomic backgrounds.

Of the thousands of children the scientists studied, twenty-nine percent of girls were overweight or obese. Thirty-eight percent of black girls were, too, but only twenty percent of Asian girls were. Thirty-one percent of boys and girls from deprived socioeconomic backgrounds had a weight problem.

Researchers say overweight children are more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type two diabetes and even cancer as they age.

So how many pounds is too many? If a child’s weight is higher than the ninety-fifth percentile for their age, they’re overweight. This ranking corresponds to a standard measure of body fat called the body mass index, B-M-I. A B-M-I of thirty or higher is severely overweight. Ideal BMI is between eighteen-point-five and twenty-four-point-nine.

The culprits? Researchers blame diet changes, too little exercise, too much time in front of T-Vs and computer screens. Whatever the cause, everyone needs to be aware of the problems that extra pounds pose… not just for adults but for children, too.