02 December, 2017
"Adult obesity is linked with increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer", said Zachary Ward, lead author of the study and an analyst at Harvard Chan School's Center for Health Decision Science. "For 2-year-olds with severe obesity, that number is four out five".
Simulation of Growth Trajectories of Childhood Obesity into AdulthoodZachary J. Ward, M.P.H., Michael W. Long, Sc.D., Stephen C. Resch, Ph.D., Catherine M. Giles, M.P.H., Angie L. Cradock, Sc.D., and Steven L. Gortmaker, Ph.D.
These researchers have relied on data on the size and weight of some 41 567 children and adults.
The model then predicted how obesity rates would unfold until all the virtual children turned 35.
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When extrapolated to reflect American society as a whole, the simulation concluded that more than 57 percent of American children today - almost 6 of every 10 - would end up obese by their mid-30s.
Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics were more likely to be obese than whites and those disparities were already present at age 2, the researchers report online November 29 in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Response: Although the current obesity epidemic in the United States has been well documented in children and adults, less is known about the long-term risks of adult obesity for children given their current age and weight.
One health and nutrition expert expressed little surprise at the findings. He said that there is a growing trend among young adults with obesity.
"Trends show obesity occurring earlier in adulthood, and [the] current level of childhood obesity suggests that the trend will continue", said Sandon, who was not involved with the analysis. Moreover, obesity is incredibly hard to reverse regardless of the age.
"Plenty of cost-effective strategies have been identified that promote healthy foods, beverages, and physical activity within school and community settings".