Baby fat poses risks for future obesity

By Christine Boatwright • Published: April 3rd, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Children with baby fat may be at risk for more than cheek pinching. Five-year-olds who carry around extra weight may be four times more likely to be obese at age 14, compared with their healthy-weight peers.

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in teenagers in the past 30 years. In 2010, more than a third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new study from Emory University shows that half of children who become obese between the ages of 5 and 14 were already overweight in kindergarten. The study reviewed data of more than 7,700 kindergarteners and measured their weight and height at seven different times until the children were in eighth grade.

At the beginning of the study, 12 percent of the kindergarteners were obese and nearly 15 percent were overweight. By eighth grade, 20 percent of the adolescents were obese and 17 percent were overweight.

To keep kids healthy, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children eat five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. In addition, children should spend no more than two hours in front of the TV or computer and get at least one hour of physical activity per day.

But the problem may not actually even begin when kids are 5. Babies born at a healthy weight are more likely to have a healthier life than those who are heavier.

While chubby cheeks and chunky thighs may be adorable on small children, as they grow, unhealthy habits could affect their lives in ways that aren’t so desirable. Be sure to teach nutritious habits at a young age to give your children healthy, happy lives.