Checklist Warns of Childhood Obesity

Susan Farley
Published Online: Thursday, September 1, 2005

Scientists from the University of Glasgow have compiled a checklist of 8 early warning signs of childhood obesity. The first sign is too much TV?more than 8 hours a week is too much. Second is not enough sleep?children around age 3 should not get <10.5 hours of sleep each night. The other factors are high birth weight, rapid weight gain, quick growth in years 1 and 2, early body fat, and having obese parents. According to Dr. John Reilly, child obesity expert at the University of Glasgow, "If you are big early on and you grow rapidly, it seems to predict risk of obesity later on. There is something about size and growth, even in the womb, that seems to have an effect." By age 3, a child can develop habits that will start him or her on the path to becoming obese. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, included more than 9000 7-year-olds whose growth had been followed since birth. Reilly added, "We need to be looking more at improving long-term outcomes by changing lifestyles."

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.

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