Children are piling on the pounds while still in grade school, with 6 percent qualifying as extremely obese, according to an extensive new survey of kids in California.
"We were surprised to find an alarmingly high number of extremely obese children: 7 percent of boys and 5 percent of girls," says Corinna Koebnick, a nutritionist and research scientist for Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, Calif., who led the study. "That's scary." A 10-year-old boy is supposed to weigh 70 pounds, and an extremely obese 10-year-old weighs 114 pounds. That's not merely a cosmetic issue. There's growing evidence that being obese in childhood raises the risk of a host of serious health problems in adulthood, including heart disease and diabetes. "These children will likely continue to be extremely obese adults," says Koebnick.
I recently wrote about how parents can keep children from snacking their way to obesity, as well as how to find obesity treatments that work for your child. And if you'd like advice from a famous D.C. mom, check out how Michelle Obama got her daughters to lose weight.