Early Obesity Intervention Helps Kids
It's long been established that childhood obesity is detrimental to children's health, having been linked to heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. It has also been shown that excessive pounds in childhood often remain into adulthood.
According to two new European studies, weight-loss programs can help even very young children to slim down. The studies also stated that acting early may improve the odds of success.
In a study by scientists in the Netherlands, which appeared in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, it was found that heavy three- to five-year old children benefited from weight-loss intervention at least several months after it ended.
Another report from Sweden showed that overweight and obese children under age 10 were much more likely to have slower weight gain than children getting similar behavioral treatments.
"What they are showing is a pretty consistent trend that if we were to intervene early, we could really have an effect on changing the trajectory of weight gain in children," Elsie Taveras, a pediatrician at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, co-wrote in an editorial on the findings.
She added there's increased evidence that paying attention to young children is one productive way to stem the global obesity epidemic. In 2008, more than a third of American youths were either overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
At First 5 LA, we understand the importance of educating families about the importance of good nutrition, and as part of countywide efforts to combat early childhood obesity, we want to increase access to opportunities that promote a healthy lifestyle. That is why First 5 LA is currently funding several nutrition and obesity-prevention related initiatives targeting young children.
"Early childhood obesity is a major concern in L.A. County, and First 5 LA is committed to programs that aim to combat the issue and promote prevention," said Reena John, senior program officer, Program Development. "Children's health is critical to the future of our society, and it's important that we address this national epidemic."
Added Jessica Kaczmarek, senior program officer, Community Investments: "There's no doubt that early childhood obesity is a challenge that will only get resolved through further education, public awareness about the importance of healthful eating and providing access to healthful options for children and their families. Through its funded initiatives, First 5 LA is dedicated to making a difference when it comes to containing childhood obesity."
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