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Ann Epidemiol. 2017 Jul;27(7):435-441. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2017.05.016. Epub 2017 May 31.

Entrenched obesity in childhood: findings from a national cohort study.

Author information

1
Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Electronic address: sargese@emory.edu.
2
Center for Economic and Social Research, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
3
Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
4
Department of Epidemiology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Given the high levels of obesity among U.S. children, we examine whether obesity in childhood is a passing phenomenon or remains entrenched into adolescence.

METHODS:

Data are from the prospective nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (analytic sample = 6600). Anthropometrics were measured six times during 1998-2007. Overweight and obesity were defined using CDC cut-points. Entrenched obesity was defined as obesity between ages 5-9 coupled with persistent obesity at ages 11 and 14.

RESULTS:

Almost 30% of children experienced obesity at some point between ages 5.6 and 14.1 years; 63% of children who ever had obesity between ages 5.6 and 9.1 and 72% of those who had obesity at kindergarten entry experienced entrenched obesity. Children with severe obesity in kindergarten or who had obesity at more than 1 year during early elementary were very likely to experience obesity through age 14, regardless of their sex, race, or socioeconomic backgrounds.

CONCLUSIONS:

Prevention should focus on early childhood, as obesity at school entry is not often a passing phenomenon. Even one timepoint of obesity measured during the early elementary school years may be an indicator of risk for long-term obesity.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Childhood; Early onset; Longitudinal; Obesity; Overweight

PMID:
28645567
PMCID:
PMC5550333
DOI:
10.1016/j.annepidem.2017.05.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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