WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Most overweight and obese children are on a path to becoming obese adults at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, a new study finds.
But if they manage to get their weight under control and avoid obesity in adulthood, they are at no higher risk of those health problems than people who were normal weight all their lives.
The study is published in the Nov. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers from Finland and their U.S. colleagues analyzed data from four studies of a total of 6,300 children from the United States, Finland and Australia. The kids, who were 11 years old on average when they started the studies, were tracked for about 23 years.
Only 14.6 percent of normal weight children became obese adults. But among the 774 kids who were overweight or obese as children, nearly 65 percent became obese adults.
When researchers excluded overweight kids and looked only at kids who were obese in childhood, 82 percent of those kids were obese adults.
Compared to normal weight children who were not obese as adults, people who were overweight or obese as children and became obese adults had much higher rates of multiple health issues. That included a 5.4-fold increased chance of type 2 diabetes; a 2.7-fold increased chance of high blood pressure; a 1.8-fold increased risk of high levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol; three times the risk of high triglyceride levels; and a 1.7-fold increased chance of atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries.
Yet, for those who had a weight problem as children but did not become obese adults, the rates of those conditions were no different than for people who were normal weight as kids and non-obese in adulthood.
"It has been shown previously that if you are obese or overweight in childhood, that
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