Weighing children from the age of two to prevent them from developing obesity, researchers warn



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Weighing children from the age of two to prevent them from developing obesity, researchers warn

  • Weighing children when they start school is too late, researchers say
  • Academics at Oxford and Manchester University studied obesity
  • Experts suggest that children should be weighed every year to enable intervention

Every child should be weighed since the age of two to help fight the obesity crisis, experts say.

Children are currently heavy when they begin primary school at the age of four and when they leave 11 years.

But the numbers suggest it may be too late – with more than one-fifth of the already overweight children in their first measurement.

Less than one-fifth of children in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia since 2000 became obese if they had a normal or low birth weight between the ages of three and five, the researchers found.

Less than one-fifth of children in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia since 2000 became obese if they had a normal or low birth weight between the ages of three and five, the researchers found.

Experts from the universities of Oxford and Manchester say that children should be weighed at age two when there is still time to intervene. And they should be weighed every year to ensure they do not go through the network.

Nearly half a million people under 11 in the UK are obese, a problem experts fear will create an outbreak of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in the future. Many parents do not accept that their child has a problem – and those who think they will "grow up."

Academics today publish a study that reveals that adult obesity can be predicted in children as young as a few years old.

Study leader Dr. Heather Robinson of the University of Manchester said: "Evidence suggests that children should be weighed and measured every year from the age of two.

"We can distinguish different patterns of child growth from two to five years, but only if we measure children regularly.

"It is therefore important to start measuring children as early as possible and to continue to do so throughout childhood so that we can provide parents and health care professionals with the information they need to support children and families.

The study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports, used data from 750,000 children worldwide to establish typical patterns of growth. They found that a child's weight before starting school was highly predictable of their weight later in life – with fat children prone to becoming overweight adults.

Less than one-fifth of children in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia since 2000 became obese if they had a normal or low birth weight between the ages of three and five, the researchers found.

And these "late-growing children" – the 19 percent who go through the network because they are not overweight at age four – can be seen later if checks are done more regularly, they said.

Nearly half a million people under 11 in the UK are obese, a problem experts fear will create an outbreak of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in the future. Many parents will not accept that their child has a problem - and those who think they will "get out"

Nearly half a million people under 11 in the UK are obese, a problem experts fear will create an outbreak of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in the future. Many parents will not accept that their child has a problem – and those who think they will "get out"

Dr. Robinson said: "Adult BMI [body mass index] begins to be predictable from the growth patterns of children from two years of age on some children, so we must measure them from that age.

However, since most measurement programs are linked to schools as a way of accessing large groups of children, we can still achieve a great deal by making the most of those observations from four to eleven.

"Our work reiterates that not only a minority of children are identified as obese when they follow a healthy growth path, but a group of children who become obese later have BMIs within the normal range of four to five years."

Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said that "millions of children suffered from inaction" because the UK did not measure children regularly.

He added: "The National Children's Measurement Program should be extended to cover every year of a child's growing years to identify early signs of developing overweight and programs to ensure they are not left to gain weight.

"We measure animals annually in our zoos to monitor their health and well-being, but we can not do the same with our children."

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