Risk of obesity starts early in life, according to study
ATLANTA (NBC) -
In kindergarten, children learn their ABC’s but experts say it's also a crucial time to learn a healthy lifestyle.
In a new report, Emory University researchers followed more than 7,700 children starting in kindergarten from 1998 to 2007.
They found children who were large at birth and overweight by kindergarten were four times as likely as normal-weight children to become obese by the eighth grade or around 14 years old.
"The first five years of life are really, really important. So as parents, as clinicians, um as a society, we can really focus on those first five years on ensuring healthy nutrition, ensuring healthy lifestyles,” said Dr. Sloveig Cunnigham at Emory University.
Doctors say parents have to be patient.
“As a child gets older, it's so much harder to monitor what they're eating and to help them make healthier choices. So you want to start at the very beginning,” said Dr. Joanna Dolgoff of Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right.