The factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents, according to a new study by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers. By identifying the risk factors that lead to childhood obesity, the researchers hope to pave the way toward preventive measures.
"The findings of this study suggest that at-risk children may be identifiable in the first few years of life," said W. Stewart Agras, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, whose team assessed both established and hypothesized risk factors in a study published in the July issue of Pediatrics. "Several of the identified risk factors are amenable to intervention, which could lead to the development of early prevention programs."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established two categories of overweight children: those who are "at risk," meaning they have a body mass index (a measure of body fat based on height and weight) above the 85th percentile, and those considered "severe," meaning a BMI above the 95th percentile. In the most recent survey, more than 30 percent of children were considered at risk. And the prevalence of severely overweight children, 15 percent, has doubled during the past 20 years.
Michelle Brandt | EurekAlert!
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