Study shows that even U.S. toddlers are obese

May 7, 2003 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Study shows that even U.S. toddlers are obese

Even toddlers in the United States are obese, and they are not only overweight, but are showing early signs of diabetes and other diseases associated with being fat, researchers said last weekend. The researchers found that sending such children to a specialist did not seem to help them get to healthier weights.

Researchers from the Kaleida Health's Women's and Children's Hospital in Buffalo, New York looked at the medical records of 385 children seen by endocrinologists -- hormone specialists -- at the hospital between 1984 and 2002. Most of the children were already obese, defined as being in the 85th percentile for weight. The parents were instructed on proper diet and exercise for their children and were advised to meet with a dietitian. But two years later, the children were, on average, even more overweight, the study found.

The research team said that an effective weight-loss program should not only focus on children, it should also include the parents and the school system. Obese children likely have obese parents. As well, high-calorie school lunches may add to the problem.

The children also had high levels of insulin, which can lead to type II diabetes. Abnormally high insulin levels were found in children as young as 4 years old, the researchers told a meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Seattle.

In addition, 13%of 147 children tested had abnormal liver-function tests, the researchers said. These tests are an indication of a condition called fatty liver, which is common in obesity, and can in turn lead to cirrhosis.

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