Childhood Obesity Doubles Adult Risk – Early Weight Loss Intervention Required
We’ve always been told that overweight adolescents are just carrying a little ‘baby fat’ and they’ll drop the chubby appearance as they grow older and taller. While this may be true for a small number of children, the vast majorities are being placed at considerable risk for the development of serious illness in middle life and reduced life expectancy.
Children and teens naturally need additional calories and nutrition to fuel their fast paced metabolism and accelerated growth. Researchers are beginning to understand that many diseases including heart disease and cancer begin to develop decades before clinical symptoms are detected. Excess body weight in youth provides the fuel for disease progression in later life. Small changes in diet at an early age can have a significant impact on overall health and longevity.
Study Confirms Childhood Overweight Results in Adult Obesity
The results of a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association shows that nearly 40% of obese adolescents can be expected to become severely obese by the age of 30. This is compared to only 2.5% of healthy weight and slightly overweight teenagers. The study found that gender did play a role in progression to adult obesity, as 37% of males and 51% of females in the study became severely obese in adulthood.
Understanding the Cause of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity rates have doubled over the past 20 years as nearly 16% of adolescents fall into the classification. Chronic childhood health problems have also doubled to 27% in the same period.
Many theories abound to explain the problem, but it’s clear that the effects of diet and the environment impact the survival genes that have evolved to keep children alive through their reproductive years. Most children eat nearly twice as many calories as they require and get considerably less exercise than earlier generations.
The Effects of Super Sizing and Fructose
Many things have changed over the past 20 years that contribute to the obesity epidemic we are faced with in our children today. None is more significant than the portion size of meals, the proliferation of processed junk foods and the mass infusion of fructose as a sweetener into many foods and drinks. All of these factors result in altered metabolism and obesity in our youth. To make matters worse, levels of physical activity have declined as kids spend less time burning calories at play.