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14% of children entering kindergarten in the US are overweight

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While chubby babies may be cute, a recent study led by Solveig A. Cunningham Ph.D has found that children who are overweight by the time they enter kindergarten are “4 times as likely to become obese by the 8th grade than their normal weight peers.” What’ s even more shocking is the fact that more than 14% of children enter kindergarten in the US are overweight.

Cunningham, who is an assistant professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, came to her conclusions after reviewing data from a study representing 3.8 million children enrolled in American kindergarten classes during 1998-1999.

“Our findings uncovered several important points by examining incidence over time, particularly that certain factors established before birth and during the first five years are important. As a result we maybe able to target those susceptible to becoming obese in later years and prevent many of the health issues that result from it it, including high cholesterol, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, sleep apnea, menstrual and fertility problems in women, obesity hyperventilation syndrome in which there is too much carbon dioxide and not enough oxygen, in the blood, osteoarthritis and several forms of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer and cancer of the gallbladder, etc.

It should be noted that the study also showed that obesity incidences decreased with age during the elementary school years, and that obesity incidences “varied along racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines.”