Childhood obesity has been a major issue in the United States for many years, and now it’s about to become more apparent than ever. Currently, the national childhood obesity rate is 18.5%. However, the LA Times says that by the time today’s children turn 35, 57% of them will be obese.
A study by Harvard researchers says most of the children that are bound to become obese are not currently obese. The study claims that health experts dropped the ball in terms of childhood obesity.
“Our findings highlight the importance of promoting a healthy weight throughout childhood and adulthood,” the researchers said in the study. “A narrow focus solely on preventing childhood obesity will not avert potential future health damage that may be induced by the ongoing obesity epidemic.”
The team of researchers had one specific question they were focusing on in this study. Zachary Ward, the leader of the team, commented on the question.
“We wanted to predict for children now at a certain weight and certain age, what’s the probability that they will have obesity at the age of 35?” Ward said.
The researchers say they picked the age 35 because that’s when many health issues related to weight, including obesity and diabetes, begin.
Along with the study from Harvard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 20% of children ages six to 19 are already obese.
The study from Harvard that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine says that children who are currently not obese are the only ones that have a better chance of not becoming obese in the future. On the other side, heavier children have more of a chance of being an obese adult. The study says that an obese two-year-old has a 79% chance of being obese as an adult. An obese 19-year-old has a 94% chance of being obese by the time they reach 35 years of age.
WDTV reports that helping children maintain a healthy weight starts with their parents or guardians.