JPB Foundation Funded Study Shows More Than Half Of US Children Will Be Obese By 35
If current trends in child obesity continue, more than 57% of today’s children in the U.S. will have obesity at age 35, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study also found that excess weight in childhood is predictive of adult obesity, even among young children, and that only children currently at a healthy weight have less than a 50% chance of having obesity as adults. The findings were based on a rigorous simulation model that provides the most accurate predictions to date of obesity prevalence at various ages.
The study was published in the November 30, 2017 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Adult obesity is linked with increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer,” said Zachary Ward, programmer/analyst at Harvard Chan School’s Center for Health Decision Science and lead author of the study. “Our findings highlight the importance of prevention efforts for all children as they grow up, and of providing early interventions for children with obesity to minimize their risk of serious illness in the future.”
The researchers used new computational methods and a novel statistical approach to account for long-term population-level trends in weight gain. They pooled height and weight data from five nationally representative longitudinal studies of 41,567 children and adults. Using these data, they created 1,000 virtual populations of 1 million children up to age 19 that were representative of the 2016 U.S. population. They then projected height and weight trajectories from childhood to age 35...