Check out this article from TIME.
The article is basically an interview with epidemiologist David Freedman from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity.
Let’s take a look at some good quotes:
…an overweight or obese adolescent is much more likely to become an obese adult than is an overweight one-year-old.”
What he says is that if a baby or toddler is overweight, the child has some likelihood of becoming obese as it becomes an adult. But, when a slightly older child (five or so) is measured as overweight and then tracked into adulthood, it is MUCH MORE likely to become obese. As much as a “tenfold increased risk” when compared to similar aged children of normal weight.
Basically, the longer a child stays fat into adolescence, it’s chances of being obese as an adult increase more and more.
I think there’s very suggestive evidence from the Bogalusa Heart Study to show that childhood obesity is related not just to weight, but also to poor health in adulthood.”
The main way they determined this is by being able to examine the hearts of participants in the study that happened to die early (due to various reasons: car crash, homicide, etc). They found that those that were considerably overweight as children, and continued to become obese as adults, had early stages of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to plaque accumulation). This disease can cause heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, and strokes. Not only does it slow blood flow to the heart, but it can cause constricted flow and clots all over the body, including the brain.
The author of the study, David Freedman, did point out that this study he is working on does have it’s limitations. The oldest subject that was studied as a child is only now 45, so they haven’t had a chance to study the effects of lifelong obesity for many adult years. In other words, they haven’t aged enough to get some definitive results.
He also points out that there are other similar studies that have similar limitations.
Some studies — but not all of them — have found an increased risk of mortality.”
And now to the pièce de résistance of this post. The key point that I would like to emphasize here, is the reason Freedman says that these studies are limited in their results.
I think, though, that part of the reason for these discrepancies is that to obtain results from these long-term longitudinal studies, many have to use baseline measurements that were taken in the ’50s and ’60s. And kids who were examined back then were much, much thinner than kids are now. Even children who would have been considered relatively heavy then are not much heavier than average children now…”
Wow. That quote pretty much says it all for me. You can believe or not believe the validity of the study all you want. You can feel as though the studies were biased and the researchers had a certain hypothesis that they were trying to find. But all that doesn’t matter.
You can’t ignore the fact that kids were “much” less fat 40-50 years ago than they are today.
What is the reason for that? Not genetics……
DIET AND LIFESTYLE!!!
Am I wrong? How else do you explain that?
P.S. Remember Chunk from The Goonies up at the top there? Remember how he was the “fat” Goonie that always wanted to eat something? He doesn’t even look that fat to me, compared to today’s fat kids.