Your kindergarten weight may predict your risk for obesity later in life

Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 5:51pm

A new study published today reports that overweight adults may be able to trace their obesity back to kindergarten. The study, from the New England Journal of Medicine, found that overweight or obese children are at a very high risk to stay that way.

Researchers at Emory University analyzed data on children who were in kindergarten during the 1989-99 school year. Children who were overweight when starting kindergarten were four times as likely as their 'normal-weight' classmates to become obese by the eighth grade, and almost every child who was very obese in kindergarten stayed obese.

"If you can get a handle on your weight before the age of five," said Grace Ram, owner of Whole Health in Tyler. "Then your chances are much stronger for going on in life having a normal weight."

Experts say kids may be unlikely to grow out of weight issues on their own and that parents and teachers need to look at focusing on a healthful lifestyle at a very early age.

"At a young age, incorporating these ideas, incorporating exercise habits, incorporating just general healthy eating of a variety of foods I think is very important," said the Director of Food Service at Tyler ISD, Victor Olivares.

And parents should not rely on the schools to be providing all the healthful meals, the habits need to start at home.

"Start your children with vegetables, small amounts of fruit and good meats," Ram said. "It's a habit that they'll have life long, even if they veer off in their teen years, they'll come back to it."

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