Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Kids' Weight Can Forecast Adult Obesity

It's Not Just the Heaviest Kids Who Are at Risk
WebMD Health News

March 10, 2005 -- Kids whose weight is on the high side of normal may need a little extra help to avoid obesity later in life.

Research has already shown that overweight and obese kids are more likely to have weight problems as adults. Now, a new study suggests that kids who are in the upper end of the normal weight range could also be at risk.

"It's important to not just wait [until kids become overweight or obese]," says Alison Field, ScD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston. "Think about it at an earlier stage," she tells WebMD.

"The message really is for clinicians and parents," she continues. Doctors and parents may want to "think more broadly" about a child's weight, even when it's still in the normal range, she says.

For instance, "if a child is in the 50th percentile, then the 65th the next year, then the 75th, that should be a message to the clinician and the parent to think, 'What can we do to stop the excessive weight gain?'" says Field. "Think about prevention at younger ages."

Overweight kids and teens are more than twice as common as they were 20 years ago, says Field's study. About 30% of teens are overweight or at risk for overweight, says the study, citing government figures from 1999-2000.

It's a touchy topic. On one hand, excess weight can nudge people toward diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health problems.

But at the same time, kids are still growing, and their body image may be vulnerable. How can adults help them reach a healthy weight without compromising kids' nutrition or esteem?

Fields offers this advice:

  • See a doctor. Get expert advice to make sure kids' special dietary needs are met. Encourage activity. "It will help burn more calories and hopefully make kids more body confident, as well," says Field.
  • Limit portion sizes. For instance, order a medium or small size when eating out.
  • Eat at home more often. It's easier to control portions (and ingredients) when you're dishing out the food.
  • Don't single children out. Instead, make healthy eating and activity a family project.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration