Obese Children Twice as Likely to Die Young?
WebMD News Archive
Other Risk Factors and Premature Death
Knowler's team also evaluated whether glucose levels, cholesterol levels, or
blood pressure during childhood boosted risk of premature death.
Death rates from natural causes among children in the highest group of
glucose intolerance (a risk factor for developing diabetes) were 73% higher
than among the children in the lowest group of glucose intolerance, the
No substantial links were found between cholesterol levels and premature
deaths. They did find that high blood pressure in childhood raised the risk of
premature death from natural causes by about 1.5 times.
"Obesity was a stronger predictor of premature death than either abnormal
glucose, cholesterol, or blood pressure," Knowler tells WebMD.
Childhood Obesity and Risk of Death: Other Opinions
The new study is timely and important, says Marc Jacobson, MD, a Great Neck,
N.Y., pediatrician who specializes in caring for children with obesity and
cholesterol problems. "It gives us more hard data about the long-term effects
of adolescent obesity," he says.
Jacobson serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics' Obesity Leadership
Workgroup. The Academy recommends that BMI be measured in all children and that
those with a BMI above the 85th percentile be helped to get it below the 85th
percentile, which is considered a healthy weight, he says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a tool parents can use called 5210,
Jacobson says. "It's used to prevent childhood obesity." It stands for:
- 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
- 2 hours or less of television viewing daily
- 1 hour of exercise daily
- 0 or nearly zero sugar-sweetened beverages daily
In an editorial accompanying the new study, Edward W. Gregg, PhD, of the DC,
notes that the Pima Indians studied in the research are sometimes viewed as not
representative of the U.S. population because their risk of diabetes is
But, he points out that 4% of the participants in the study had impaired
glucose tolerance, a percentage similar to the 3% of U.S. teens overall who
have the condition. And the condition affects 9.5% of obese teens, he says.