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Obese Children Are Likely to Stay Obese Into Adolescence, Study Finds

Obese Children Are Likely to Stay Obese Into Adolescence, Study Finds

New research finds that children who are obese may find that they will continue deal with obesity well into adolescence due to the influence of their surroundings. 

According to, a new study on from Pediatrics found that "most obese 10th graders were overweight as fifth graders" and "overweight fifth graders were more likely to become obese if they had an obese parent or watched more television than the children who did not become obese."

“Understanding factors associated with the transition into and out of obesity would inform efforts to address the obesity epidemic,” said Mark A. Schuster, lead study author.

The researchers, the article said, "also studied 3,961 public school children when they were in the fifth grade and again when they were in 10th grade." The authors "collected data on the height and weight of the children and one parent per child."

The students "answered questions about their body image, exercise, TV habits and diet," the article said.

The team "found that 19 percent of the fifth graders and 18 percent of the 10th graders were overweight. Twenty-six percent of fifth graders and 20 percent of 10th graders were obese," according to the article. "The researchers defined overweight children as those who were heavier than 85 percent of the other children. The children who were heavier than 95 percent of the children were considered obese."

"It is frequently stated that most of our habits are formed between ages 11-21 years old," said Thomas Seman, Boston pediatrician. "The studies show, however, that in 5th grade which is typically around 11 years old, many children already have poor eating habits as well as poor self image. Obviously we need to start earlier in identifying these children and educate and support them in making better decisions. Further educating parents is also very important since we know the power of their influence on their children)."

The study also found that "65 percent of obese fifth graders were still obese as 10th graders, and 83 percent of obese 10th graders had been obese as fifth graders. Some of the obese fifth graders — 23 percent — were considered overweight in 10th grade. Overweight fifth graders who watched 30 hours of TV and had an obese parent had a 21 percent chance of becoming obese in 10th grade."

"Children who are not yet obese by fifth grade but who have an obese parent or who watch considerable television might benefit from monitoring, as might children who have negative body images," the study authors wrote, according to the article. "Studies have shown that children learn better and have better focus if they have regular exercise in gym as well as recess. Should these be reintroduced every day for children, this would give them a chance to exercise, interact with other children and should decrease overall weight in a child and decrease the percentage of overweight and obese children."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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