According to researchers at University College London, children who are overweight or obese by the age of eleven are likely to carry their excess weight into adulthood, and as a result, suffer from related health problems.
The study, which tracked nearly 6000 children over a 5 year period, found that children who were obese at age eleven did not tend to slim down during the five year study period, indicating the presence of persistent obesity.
The findings, published in the British Medical Journal concluded that the tendency to be overweight or obese is already set by age eleven. Overweight children face an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and cancer.
North America and Europe currently have the highest prevalence of overweight children. Changes in diet and less exercise combined with too much time spent in front of television have been blamed.
Researchers say the findings of the study highlight the need for early intervention to prevent childhood and adult obesity.
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