These 3 factors predict a child’s chance of obesity in adolescence

Three simple factors can predict whether a child is likely to be overweight or obese by the time they reach adolescence: the child’s body mass index (BMI), the mother’s BMI and the mother’s education level, according to our new research.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, found these three factors predicted whether children of all sizes either developed weight problems or resolved them by age 14-15, with around 70% accuracy.

One in four Australian adolescents is overweight or obese. This means they’re likely to be obese in adulthood, placing them at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Combining these three factors may help clinicians target care to those most at risk of becoming obese in adolescence.

Targeting care to those who need it

GPs are well placed to both prevent and treat excess weight and obesity. But time constraints make it difficult. Few parents make appointments to address concerns about weight, so most counselling occurs in the context of a visit for something else.

It’s also difficult for GPs to know which children might need this counselling. ...

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