Obesity in Adolescence Can Be Influenced By Watching Too Much TV Or Having An Obese Parent

Overweight 5th graders who watched 30 hours of TV and had an obese parent had a 21% chance of becoming obese in 10th grade.

Overweight children and adolescents can get fit but they must overcome some lifestyle challenges. A new study by Mark A. Schuster, MD, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital finds that obese 10th graders were already overweight as 5th graders. The 5th graders were more likely to become obese if they watched too much television or had an overweight parent.

watching TvStudy Details

Researchers studied 3,961 public school children when they where in 5th grade and then again when they were in 10th grade. The heights and weights of the children and one parent per child was taken. Students also answered questions about their body image, exercise, TV watching and their diets.

  • 19% of the 5th graders were overweight
  • 18% of the 10th graders were overweight
  • 26% of 5th graders were obese
  • 20% of 10th graders were obese
  • 65% of obese 5th graders were still obese as 10th graders
  • 83% percent of obese 10th graders had been obese as 5th graders
  • 23 percent of the obese 5th graders were considered overweight in 10th grade.
  • Overweight 5th graders who watched 30 hours of TV and had an obese parent had a 21% chance of becoming obese in 10th grade.

The researchers defined overweight children as those who were heavier than 85 percent of the other children. The children who were heavier than 95 percent of the children were considered obese.

The study was published online Nov. 10 in Pediatrics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the study. The authors did not declare any conflicts of interest.

Children Need To Start Good Habits Much Earlier

It was commonly believed that habits are formed between ages 11-21 years old but the studies shows by 11 years old or 5th grade that many children already have bad eating habits and poor self image.

Exercise Also Helps Children Focus

Children learn better and have better focus if they have regular exercise in gym as well as recess. This exercise should be reinforced in and out of school to prevent obesity.

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