MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Antje Körner, M.D
Center for Pediatric Research
University Hospital for Children and Adolescents
University of Leipzig
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: We were interested to find out, when (at what age) obesity in children emerges, whether there is something such as an critical age.
There are many opinions on that but very few well-powered studies. We tracked weight/BMI development of more than 51,000 children from infancy to adolescence. We see, that it is clearly early childhood – the preschool years when obesity sets in in the children. If a child is obese at one or up to two years of age, chances are about 50:50 to return to normal weight; with 3 years of age, most children with overweight or obesity will stay so, almost 90%.
When we look at it dynamically, we see the strongest increase in excessive weight between 2 and 6 years of age in those adolescents who are obese. Even after that young age there is steady further increase in additional weight gain, hence worsening of obesity.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our intention is to raise awareness that obesity sets in at that very young age. Often you hear of “innocent puppy fat” in the very young children, which will grow away. According to our data you cannot rely on returning to normal weight as soon as 3 years of age.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Therefore, we have to think more in means of prevention. This early childhood is the age where habits are formed. Hence every day life should be structured in a healthy way and environment should favour a healthy life style.
Mandy Geserick, M.Sc., Mandy Vogel, Ph.D., Ruth Gausche, M.B.A., Tobias Lipek, M.D., Ulrike Spielau, M.Sc., Eberhard Keller, M.D., Roland Pfäffle, M.D., Wieland Kiess, M.D., and Antje Körner, M.D.
October 4, 2018
N Engl J Med 2018; 379:1303-1312
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