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[19659004] Childhood obesity is on the rise among young Americans under the age of 20, including minorities. (Photo: Getty Images)

Fifty-seven percent of the nation's children and adolescents will be obese at age 35 if current trends continue, according to a new cautionary study on Wednesday.

The research, published in New England Journal of Medicine goes beyond previous studies that suggest unhealthy childhood weights often lead to adult obesity. they face the greatest risk, even those who reach the age of 20 in good shape face a substantial danger in a world where obesity could soon be the new normal. [19] 659009] "This study is the first to make accurate predictions for the current generation of children," and the news is not good, said lead author Zachary Ward, a Harvard researcher at T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The findings, he said, show the need to intensify prevention efforts from childhood to early adulthood.

The current adult obesity rate, recently updated by US government researchers. UU., It is in a record of 39.8%. The rate in children and adolescents is 18.5%. Adult obesity is related to health problems that include diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The new research is based on weight-trend data from several studies that tracked individuals for different periods of time. The researchers used that information to create a model that projects what will happen to today's children if current trends persist.

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The study does not badyze the underlying causes but suggests that the increased risks begin to accumulate early.

For example, a 5-year-old boy with severe obesity faces an 89% risk of obesity in middle age; a pair of normal weight has a 53% risk. At age 19, a severely obese adolescent faces a 94% risk of being obese at 35; a pair of normal weight has a 30% risk.

In general, about half of the people who will be obese at 35 are already obese at 20, Ward said.

The study is based on "a sophisticated statistical badysis technique that is based on certain badumptions, and those badumptions can be challenged," said Stephen Daniels, president of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "But I think the badumptions are quite reasonable and their conclusions are quite reasonable and, unfortunately, quite terrifying."

Daniels, who was not involved in the study, said the findings reflect "profound changes in physical activity and diet" that are difficult to address. We live in a world, he said, where it is easier for children and parents to choose "high-calorie, low-nutrient" foods and drinks than healthy ones. Meanwhile, he said, children often stick to screens that keep them immobile for many hours a day.

Potentially useful policy changes, such as taxes on sugary drinks, need more research, he said. Beverage manufacturers question any possible relationship between obesity rates and soft drink consumption.

"We have to discover how to change our environments," said Daniels. "We spent a lot of time talking to parents about the changes we want them to make, but it's an uphill climb for them."

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