In a most recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 30 percent of children have a body mass index above the 85th percentile, and 15 percent of children have a BMI above the 95th percentile, which has doubled over the last 20 years and the National Institutes of Health report that overweight adolescents have a 70-percent chance of becoming overweight adults, which keeps them at high risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.
A new study suggest parents need to realize their weight is the most powerful risk factor for their children becoming overweight. The attributes and behaviors of 150 children were studied from birth up to age 5. These were then used to predict whether the child would be overweight at 9.5 years. Some of the behaviors that were monitored included parents' weight, parent/infant feeding practices, the child's caloric intake, activity, temperament, and parents' concerns about their child's weight.
It was found that parental obesity represented the most potent risk factor. Sixty-four percent of 9.5-year-old children with overweight parents became overweight compared with 16 percent of those with normal-weight parents. Researchers hypothesize this connection is due to a combination of genetics and family environmental influences. Temperament was also found to affect the child's weight. Researchers suggest this may be due to parents feeding emotional children to reduce the frequency of tantrums instead of using non-food methods.
Other significant risk factors uncovered included a lack of parental interest in the weight of their children and less sleep. Overweight children, on average, got 30 minutes fewer of sleep than normal-weight children, which may be because they are less active during the day.