One in 3 American children is overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses.
Obesity is even more prevalent among black and Hispanic children. Some public health experts say today’s children are on track to live shorter lives than their parents.
A report released Tuesday and reported in a story in the New York Times said a woman’s weight before she becomes pregnant and her weight gain during pregnancy are two of the most important factors that determine, before a child is born, whether he or she will become obese.
Studies find that about 1 in 5 children becomes overweight or obese by age 6, and that more than half of obese children become overweight before the age of 2. Nearly 6 percent of infants younger than six months are overweight, the report says, up from 3.4 percent between 1980 and 2001.
Breast-feeding after birth also helps, as studies have found that children fed that way are 22 percent less likely to become obese.