Chronic diseases due to obesity in children
More and more children are affected by obesity, which also occurs at an earlier age. This is linked to poorer mental health and often leads to chronic diseases in adulthood, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A new study involving experts from Emory University has looked at the ages at which children are most likely to develop obesity and which children are most at risk. The results were published in the journal “Pediatrics”.
Where does the evaluated data come from?
For the new study, the team analyzed data sets of children from the United States who entered kindergarten in 1998 and 2010. As part of so-called longitudinal studies of early childhood, data from children participants up to the fifth grade were recorded.
Obesity often already in primary school
Experts found that around 40% of young adults and teenagers who attended secondary school had developed obesity or were classified as overweight before leaving primary school.
Obesity is happening earlier and affecting more children
Also, the proportion of obese children was higher and younger children were affected than was the case 12 years earlier, the team said. Despite public health campaigns and obesity prevention measures, a negative evolution can be observed.
Which children are particularly at risk?
According to experts, non-black Hispanic preschoolers seem to be particularly affected by obesity in the United States. In this group, the risk of developing obesity in fifth grade was 29% higher than 12 years ago.
Economic deprivation promotes obesity
That children grow up economically disadvantaged appears to play a key role in the development of obesity in elementary school, the researchers say. In this group, the risk of obesity in primary school age is increased by 15%.
New strategies to fight obesity
Taken together, the data suggests that childhood obesity continues to rise.
“We urgently need a national, interdisciplinary research and public health strategy to stem the tide of childhood obesity and its consequences in the United States and around the world,” said study author Dr. Dr. Venkat Narayan in a press release.
“For decades, we have observed that the number of obese children is increasing, although many parents and policymakers have made great efforts to improve the diets, physical activity and living environment of children,” adds Dr. Solveig A. Cunningham added.
However, the new study results suggest that these efforts have so far been unsuccessful and that tackling obesity remains a high public health priority. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Solveig A Cunningham, Shakia T Hardy, Rebecca Jones, Carmen Ng, Michael R Kramer, et al. : Changes in the incidence of childhood obesity; in: Pediatrics (Published 05/07/2022), PediatricsEmory University: Study Finds Childhood Obesity Occurs With Greater Frequency, Severity, and at Younger Ages (Published 05/07/2022) , Emory University
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.