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Preschoolers at Risk

A recent study lead by Rachel Kimbro of the University of Wisconsin has grim news. The number of overweight pre- kindergarten students from poor families is indeed rising.//

The results published in the American Journal of Public Health have one strange fact though; the majority of fat preschoolers are Hispanic. Thirty-two percent of the white and black children were either overweight or obese in contrast with 44 per cent of the Hispanics.

The study took into account 2000 three-year olds growing up in poverty in 20 US cities. This fact is generally unaccounted for by the researchers, as all three; black, white and Hispanic kids alike, have their meals while watching TV, and their mothers have equal access to grocery stores.

Kimbro feels the fact that 14 percent of Hispanic children take a bottle to bed as against 6 per cent of white kids and 4 percent of black kids could be a clue. One more reason could be cultural differences as Hispanic mothers are prone to look at chubbier babies as the healthier ones.

Overall, this finding supports other research that 'one of the most common causes of overweight in children is overfeeding,' said Dr. Philip Nader, a pediatrician and professor emeritus at the University of California at San Diego.

This is indeed a note of warning as some 17 percent of U.S. youngsters are obese, and millions more are overweight. Obesity can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, sleep problems and other disorders - and the problem starts early. Overweight preschoolers have a five times higher risk of being fat at age 12 than do lean preschoolers.

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