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Childhood obesity predicted by weight in kindergarten

New research conducted by Dr. Solveig A. Cunningham, assistant professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, reported a direct correlation with a child’s weight and body mass index (BMI) when the child enters kindergarten and the probability that the child will become obese and remain obese during the rest of their life at the Emory website on Jan. 29, 2014.

Michelle Obama speaks during the 'Building a Healthier Future Summit' March 8, 2013, at the Lisner Auditorium of George Washington University in Washington, DC. The first lady spoke on ensuring the health of the nation's youths and childhood obesity.
Michelle Obama speaks during the 'Building a Healthier Future Summit' March 8, 2013, at the Lisner Auditorium of George Washington University in Washington, DC. The first lady spoke on ensuring the health of the nation's youths and childhood obesity. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The researchers examined data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study of the U. S. Kindergarten Class from 1998 through 1999 that included 3.8 million children of kindergarten age and found that 12 percent of children are obese when they enter kindergarten, 14 percent of children enter kindergarten overweight and have four times the potential of becoming obese by age 14, and children that were large at birth and enter kindergarten overweight have the highest potential for being obese.

Obesity was considered to be 95 percent of the BMI from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Growth Charts.

This is the first research that documents a large population of children and their potential for becoming obese and is the first to indicate that “certain factors established before birth and during the first five years are important.” The researchers intend to use these findings as a means to reduce childhood obesity.