Should We Be Concerned About Obesity in Kindergarteners?
We never used to think of chubby kids as being anything other than adorable, but researchers are now more concerned about children’s eating habits now that more Americans are being considered obese.
According to a new study, 40 percent of American children enter kindergarten with a body mass index (BMI) greater than the 75 percentile. Anything over the 85th percentile is considered “overweight,” and over the 95th percentile is “obese.”
This finding is especially disturbing to health experts because the proportion of children who become obese tends to accelerate after kindergarten. The study results show a heavy weight gain between first and third graders.
“It[‘s] not just kids who are already overweight getting more and more so,” economist Ashlesha Datar, one of the study’s authors, explained. “There is an entire shift. Even those who are normal weight are gaining weight.” The study’s authors recommend that overweight and obese children can be targeted for intervention during their first few years of elementary school because by the time they become adolescents it may be “too late.”
Experts blame video games and high-caloric snakes for this weight gain among the youngest Americans.