Fat Kids Not Destined to Be Fat Adults

From the WebMD Archives

Nov. 29, 2001 -- Obesity in children continues to rise, but does this mean we'll soon have even more overweight adults? That's what many have suspected, but a new study shows it isn't necessarily the case.

Previous studies have shown that kids who are at the top of their class as far as weight and height are more likely to become overweight adults. And other studies have reported that these kids stand a greater chance of developing diseases in adulthood. But research until now has not established whether overweight kids actually do become obese adults.

So, English researchers looked at 412 children and followed them all the way up to age 50.

They found that although overweight teenagers were more likely to become overweight adults, most obese adults were not heavy when they were children. And, thin children were not protected from becoming heavy adults.

In fact, the thinnest kids who became fat adults developed the most health problems. They were more likely than others to have abnormal blood sugar levels -- an early sign of diabetes -- as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

The findings hold some good news: being an overweight kid doesn't necessarily mean you're destined to be an overweight adult.

But there is cause for alarm here, too. Thin kids are not immune to becoming obese as they age. And those who do go from lean to large were most likely to develop heart disease and stroke risk factors in adulthood.

Once again, research is showing us we need to get serious and aggressive about weight control. If we don't, our current obesity epidemic may well become an epidemic of heart disease and diabetes.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD
© 2001 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

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