More than half of the children and teens in the United States will be obese when they reach the age of 35 if current trends continue, findings of a new study have revealed.
Obesity Risk In US Children
Researchers of the new study found that 57 percent of today's kids will be obese by the time they reach their 35th birthday. Obese 5-year-old children have 89 percent increased odds for midlife obesity and normal weight children of the same age face 53 percent increased risk.
19-year-old teens who are severely obese face 94 percent risk of being obese at age 35. About half of those who will be obese at 35 are already obese at 20 years old.
The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that while overweight children have the highest risk to be obese later in life, those who reach the age of 20 in good shape still face threats if obesity becomes the new normal. Researchers said that normal-weight teens still have 30 percent risk of being obese at age 35.
"On the basis of our simulation models, childhood obesity and overweight will continue to be a major health problem in the United States. Early development of obesity predicted obesity in adulthood, especially for children who were severely obese," wrote Zachary Ward, from Harvard University, and colleagues in their study, which was published on Nov. 30.
Contributors Of Childhood Obesity Epidemic
Stephen Daniels, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, said that parents and their children now find it easier to choose high calorie but low-nutrient food and drinks. Sugary drinks have particularly raised concern as experts link it to obesity. In France, authorities already banned unlimited soda refills in a bid to combat obesity in the country.
Lifestyle practices in this modern world are also a factor. Daniels said that many kids are glued to their screen and this keeps them immobile for many hours.
Addressing Weight Problems In Kids
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged removing calorie-rich temptations that can get children to eat high calories and high sugar, or high salt snacks.
Health experts also advise parents and guardians to help kids develop healthy eating habits and to engage them in physical activities to prevent childhood overweight problems and obesity.
"In addition to encouraging physical activity, help children avoid too much sedentary time. Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time your children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day," the CDC said.