Childhood Obesity Begins Early

Childhood Obesity Begins Early

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times by Eryn Brown, childhood obesity can begin in a baby as young as nine months old. Although “baby fat” may look cute, it can actually be dangerous. An overweight or obese baby can be predisposed to obesity later in life, according to research published in the American Journal of Health Promotion

A growing epidemic in the United States, childhood obesity has been linked to psychological problems, asthma, cardiovascular troubles and a greater chance of developing diabetes.

In order to understand the factors associated with early childhood obesity, data was analyzed from a sample of American children born in 2001.

The data included height, weight and demographic characteristics of 8,900 9-month-old babies and 7,500 2-year-old toddlers. Obese children were defined as those who exceeded the 95th percentile for body-mass index, and those between the 85th and 95th percentile were considered “at risk.”

The study found that 32 percent of children were either obese or at risk of obesity by the tender age of nine months. That figure increased to 34 percent by the time these children reached their second birthdays.

Patterns that emerged from this study include: boys were more at risk than girls (contradicting earlier research); Latinos had the highest risk; geographic location was not consistently associated with being obese or at risk; the family’s socioeconomic status didn’t seem to make a different at 9 months of age, but by two years, the kids in the bottom economic 20 percent were most likely to be obese or at risk, while those in the top 20 percent were least likely to be obese or at risk.

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It seems that there is still research that needs to be conducted to even further analyze early childhood obesity. Camp Shane weight loss camp aims to fight childhood obesity by teaching children and teenagers how to live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and exercise. It is imperative that children understand how important health is at an early age to avoid obesity and related health complications later in life, and parents must be a key part in educating their children.