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Obesity and Body Weight
Risk of Adult Obesity Much Higher for Overweight Children
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Obesity & Body Weight in Japanese Children

Obesity Study Aim
Investigate tracking of body weight from childhood to adulthood in obese Japanese children who were treated for obesity. Investigate the relation between the changes in body weight status and morbidity, and identify correlates of the changes in body weight status. Twelve-year retrospective cohort study.

Obesity Study Subjects
A sample of 276 subjects (176 males and 100 females) who responded to a questionnaire mailed in 1998 to 1047 children (age 10.6±2.2) treated for obesity at Mie National Hospital in Japan between 1976 and 1992.

Obesity Study Measurements
Based on height and weight from medical records during childhood, the relative weight (RW; weight expressed as a percentage of the standard body weight for age, height, and sex) was calculated. Degrees of childhood obesity were based on RW: slight obesity, moderate obesity, and severe obesity. Adult body mass index (BMI), which was obtained from the mailed questionnaires, was classified as normal, overweight and obese according to the WHO/NIH criteria. Body weight tracking by degree of obesity was evaluated. Subjects with severe obesity during childhood were examined for their weight status in adulthood, prevalence of chronic diseases in adulthood, and factors such as parental obesity, dietary and exercise habits and obesity treatment during childhood.

Obesity Study Results
Childhood obesity tracked into adulthood obesity or overweight in 54.7% of all cases. Severely obese children (36.7%) were more likely to be obese as an adult than moderately obese children (16.8%). The prevalence of adult obesity tended to be greater in boys with moderate childhood obesity than in girls (29.7% in boys vs. 14.9% in girls). Among the severely obese children who became normal-weight adults, the prevalence of chronic diseases was about one-fifth of those who remained obese in adulthood. Four factors were associated with changes in body weight status: maternal BMI at entry, the changes in dietary and exercise habits after treatment, and satisfaction with obesity treatment in childhood.

Obesity Study Conclusion
Severely obese children have a higher risk of becoming obese adults even when they received obesity treatment in childhood. The risk of adulthood obesity was twice as high in moderately obese boys than in girls. On the other hand, many cases of childhood obesity can be corrected with obesity treatment, which in turn can decrease the risk for adult chronic diseases.

Source: International Journal of Obesity

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