Obesity causes enough problems in childhood. Now new research shows heavy teen-agers are often destined to gain even more weight as adults, resulting in a sobering fact: For the first time, parents now are expected to live longer than their children.
The numbers are staggering. About half of obese teenage girls and about a third of obese teenage boys become severely obese – weighing 80 to 100 pounds over a healthy weight – by age 30, according to the new University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill study.
The health risks
Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, and about a third of children and adolescents weigh too much. Childhood obesity has tripled in the last three decades. The extra pounds put children at a greater risk of developing several debilitating and costly diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Children today may live two to five fewer years than their parents because of obesity, according to a 2005 government study.
The UNC study reviewed national data on the height and weight records of almost 9,000 people, ages 12 to 21, followed for 13 years.
Their findings included:
• About three-quarters of severely obese teens remained that heavy at age 30.
• Only 1 to 2 percent of normal-weight teens became severely obese by the time they were 30.
For the Ho-Ho-Whole Family!
Western Baptist sponsors many efforts to fight childhood obesity. The hospital’s goal is to make children — and their parents and caregivers — “heart smart.” This year’s annual Holiday Health Extravaganza will focus on young families with children to get the entire family interested in their health.
Free screenings will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 4, in the atrium of Doctors Office Building 2. Screenings include cholesterol (adults only), blood pressure, blood sugar, balance, flexibility, body fat and respiratory.
The health fair also will include free cooking demonstrations, giveaways and door prizes.
Special for the kids will be fitness and nutrition activities, as well as guests Jason Lindsey from “Hooked on Science,” Bob Dog and Santa Claus. Phone (270) 575-2918 for more information.
Send your questions!
Do you have a cardiac question tugging at your heart? Send it to email@example.com or mail it to HeartBeat, 2501 Kentucky Ave., Paducah, KY 42003. If we use it in a future HeartBeat column, you will receive a Western Baptist Hospital door prize.