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Obesity Evident by Age 11 Unlikely to Resolve with Age

Study of students in London finds that nearly 25 percent of 11 and 12 year olds are overweight

FRIDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- About 25 percent of children are obese or overweight by age 11 or 12, and the excess weight is likely to persist into adolescence, according to a study of London schoolchildren published online May 5 in BMJ.

Jane Wardle, Ph.D., of University College London, and colleagues studied annual weight, height and waistline data on 5,863 students aged 11 and 12 starting in 1999 in 36 London schools.

Almost 25 percent of all students were overweight and obese, including 29 percent of girls, 31 percent of poor students and 38 percent of black girls, the researchers report. Obesity increased over five years, and students overweight at baseline were unlikely to achieve a healthy weight during the study.

"Little evidence was found of new cases of overweight or obesity emerging over adolescence, but few obese or overweight adolescents reduced to a healthy weight," the authors write. "The results indicate that persistent obesity is established before age 11 and highlight the need to target efforts to prevent obesity in the early years."

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