Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Critical Period in Which to Study Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is an important problem worldwide. In the U.S., school districts and governments are establishing programs to fight the disease. First Lady Michelle Obama is one of the leaders of a program called "Let's Move" whose purpose is to fight childhood obesity. School districts are making cafeteria food more healthy. And to learn more about childhood obesity, researchers in Japan suggest that there is a critical period during childhood that might enable us to better understand some aspects of obesity.

The researchers believe that the period between 7 and 14 years of age is a key to understanding childhood obesity. The researchers looked at growth velocities during that age period. And they found that overweight children at the age of 14 had different growth velocities between the ages of 7 and 14 compared to non overweight children at 14.

For example, according to the study results, the boys with the greatest growth velocities between 7 and 11 years of age had the greatest risk of being overweight at the 14. And girls who experienced the greatest growth velocities between 9 and 10, and between 10 and 11, faced the greatest risk of being overweight at 14.

Using these results might enable weight loss practitioners to get a feel for who will be overweight at 14 years of age. The practitioner can work with the child and the child's parents to design diet and exercise programs to avoid or lessen the possible weight gain.

Since obesity can be an impediment to future success, parents should be interested in working with a weight loss provider to reduce the chances of their child's weight gain. Bariatric or weight loss centers could educate parents on what they should look for during critical periods. This collaboration between a family and a weight loss center would be good for the child.

And this kind of ongoing collaboration could provide the weight loss service provider with invaluable experience with childhood obesity. With this experience, and with some success, a weight loss center could legitimately market itself as a leader in understanding and fighting childhood obesity.

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