Is your 5-year-old overweight? Kids who are obese in kindergarten are four times more likely to be obese later on in childhood. “The biggest risk of developing new obesity from ages 5 to 14 is really driven by kids entering kindergarten overweight. Those children who were born large or are overweight at age 5, something is happening very early in life which sets the pathway to obesity,” explains Dr. Venkat Narayan, lead author of a new study by Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of childhood obesity is double what it was 30 years ago. That’s why Dr. Narayan believes we should pay more attention to children’s health in the early years: “It’s not about focusing just on weight- it’s about healthy nutrition and healthy physical activity. It’s true for school children; it should be true for preschool children. Obesity may have to do with things that happen before a child is born. Clearly we want healthy weight gain in the first five years of life and beyond.”