overweight kids

  1. Fatter kids, shorter lives

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    In the words of Yogi Berra, the future ain't what it used to be.

    A new study peeks into the crystal ball, and finds that tomorrow's adults are going to be in pretty rough shape... because yesterday's children were badly overweight. And that means some recent predictions about the future life expectancy of Americans might have been wildly optimistic.

    Researchers looked at people born between 1966 and 1985, and found that a fifth of them became obese between the ages of 20 and 29 years old. That's a full decade before similar levels of obesity began to hit members of the post-World War II generation: Those born between 1946 and 1955 didn't start to see obesity issues until they reached their 30s.

    And Americans born between 1935 and 1945 didn't fall into that weight category until they reached their 40s, according to the study published in the International Journal of Obesity.

    If younger people are getting fatter decades earlier, they're also going to experience the health problems associated with obesity--diabetes, heart disease and more--decades earlier.

    But what's even more disturbing is what the study didn't look at. Kids born in more recent years are in far worse shape than those born even 25 years ago. Some of today's overweight kids make the out-of-shape youth of yesteryear look like swimsuit models.

    And you can bet there's going to be a price to pay for that.

    As I mentioned just a few weeks ago, the child obesity problem has spiraled out of control faster than anyone could have imagined. (Click here to read, "Child obesity reaches a new level.")

    There are more than 12 million overweight children in the nation, which is bad enough. But even more alarming, large numbers of the very young are getting very fat... very, very fast.

    And in many cases, their own parents don't recognize the problem. A new study out of Australia found that more than half the parents of obese children didn't realize their kids were overweight.

    Talk about denial!

    But if we're going to solve the problem, it's going to have to begin at home--with those parents. An editorial just published in the New England Journal of Medicine says the only way to fix the child obesity problem is to start kids on the road to healthy habits before they even reach school age.

    Wait any longer, and it's just too late.

    Does that sound extreme? A little dramatic?

    It's not--because if we don't start getting today's little ones accustomed to healthy eating, then tomorrow's adults are going to have shorter, sicker lives.

  2. Child obesity reaches new level

    Remember when mom and dad told you not to eat so much junk?

    Well, today's moms and dads aren't nearly as restrictive... because the latest research finds that kids are eating more than ever--especially more snacks--and that the child obesity problem is far worse than anyone imagined.

    And with more than 12 million overweight kids in the nation, most of us already knew it was pretty bad.

    The first study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that 6 percent of children in southern California are fat enough to be considered "extremely obese." And that includes 2 percent of kids under 5 years old.

    The study of 700,000 children adds up to 45,000 extremely obese kids in southern California alone, but the researchers believe their numbers can be extrapolated across the country.

    Talk about a rough start.

    It's bad enough when an adult reaches the point where they're no longer simply overweight or even obese, but "extremely" obese. But for children?

    It just shouldn't happen--ever.

    That's a whole lot of eating in a very short space of time –-and if it continues, their adulthoods will be short and anything but sweet as the candy they're eating. The researchers believe early extreme obesity can remove up to 20 years from a child's eventual life--and that these kids will suffer health problems in their 20s that most people don't face until they reach the 40-60 age group.

    There's a simple reason for this growing gut problem: Today's kids are eating more than ever, and they're eating the worst food imaginable. Kids today are consuming an average of 168 more calories each day than the kids of 1977 –-and that's all junk food. The study in Health Affairs Journal says chips, candy and other junk now make up 27 percent of a child's total calories.

    Snacks have always been around... but it's only in recent years that they've begun to take up not just one or two, but three and even four entire aisles in the supermarket.

    It's one more reason why the best advice is to shop the perimeter--stick to the fresh foods along the walls, where you'll usually find vegetables, meats and dairy--and skip the middle of the supermarket altogether.

    And if you can avoid it, don't bring your kids or grandkids shopping with you. If they're not there, they can't start chanting for gummy candies, snack cakes and sugar-packed cereals.

    You might just save their lives.

  3. Obesity begins in toddlerhood

    Baby fat may make for cute little kids... but that seemingly adorable pudge can stick around for much longer than anyone would have imagined.
  4. Kids under assault... by sugar

    One new study finds that just two sugar-sweetened drinks each day is all it takes to make a kid overweight.

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