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February 14, 2010

Obesity 'often set before age of two'

The "tipping point" that sets children on the way to a lifetime of obesity often occurs before the age of two, say US researchers.

A study of more than 100 obese children and teenagers found more than half were overweight by 24 months & 90% were overweight by the age of five.
Obesity under age twoA quarter were overweight before they were five months old, the researchers reported in Clinical Pediatrics.

In the UK, around 27% of children 're now overweight.

The children in the study - who had an average age of 12 - were all overweight or obese by the age of 10.

Although the reason for rapid weight gain in early life is not well understood, contributing factors 're likely to be poor diet, early introduction of solid food, & not getting enough exercise, the researchers said.

Eating Behaviour

  • Food preferences may be set by the age of two, so changing a child's eating behaviour at a later stage may be difficult.
  • Results should be a "wake-up call for doctors" said the study leader Dr. John Harrington, an assistant professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
  • He went on: "Too often, doctors wait until medical complications arise before they begin treatment.
  • "Getting parents & children to change habits that 've already taken hold is a monumental challenge fraught with road-blocks & disappointments.
  • "This study indicates that we may need to discuss inappropriate weight gain early in infancy to effect meaningful changes in the current trend of obesity."
  • "What happens in the first years of a baby's life has a big effect on how healthy they 're in the future" said a Dept. of Health spokesman.
  • "Despite recent encouraging statistics which show that childhood obesity may be levelling off, obesity levels 're still too high & it is important we keep the momentum going."

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