According to a new study a majority of US children today will be obese by age 35. This study published in the New England Journal of Medicine pooled five nationally representative data sets involving 41,567 children and adults who had repeated measures of height and weight over time, and they developed a simulation model to predict individual growth trajectories. They then created 1000 virtual populations of 1 million children through the age of 19 years that were representative of the 2016 US population and projected their trajectories in height and weight up to the age of 35 years. “Among obese children, we found that the probability that they will still be obese at the age of 35 years increased with age,” they report — that risk being almost 75% at the age of 35 if children are obese at the age of 2 and over 88% if they are obese at the age of 19.
Right now about 17% of US children are obese. It may seem a little hard to believe that 57% of them will be obese at age 35 but right now in Illinois 31.7% of adults are obese compare that to 1995 when 15.3% of Illinois adults were obese. In twenty years the number of Illinois adults who are obese doubled, despite our efforts to combat obesity. If you look at adult obesity rates, they trend up, in every state in the country. Even in healthy Colorado, the adult obesity rate was 10.7% in 1995 and today it is 22.3%. It really isn’t hard to look at the data of this study, compare it to adult obesity rates today, and realize that the health of our children is in jeopardy. Perhaps not their health right now, but the habits they take up when their young will affect them as adults.
What do we do about it? The best thing we can do is provide a good example for our children to follow. As adults we need to establish healthy habits, diet and exercise, and make sure our children understand what we are doing and why. We need to encourage them to make our healthy habits their lifestyle. There are many health consequences that come from being obese, it is vitally important for our own health and for our children’s health we do all we can to avoid this.