"It's definitely a shocking and sobering number", said lead study author Zachary Ward, an analyst at the Harvard TH Chan School of Medicine, The Guardian reported. We also find that racial/ethnic disparities in obesity are already present by the age of 2 and persist into adulthood. In some parts of the country, we're already approaching that level of obesity.
"Of the children predicted to have obesity as adults, half will develop it as children".
More than one-third (36.5 percent) of the USA adult population is afflicted with obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The model indicated that being overweight or obese early in life bumped up the risk for being obese later in life.
Researchers say if the current trends in child obesity continue, more than 57 percent of those children will be obese as an adult.
The new research took data from five earlier studies about actual American children and adults' height and weight, and simulated growth trajectories in order to project where today's kids were likely to end up by the age of 35.
"The authors' predictions are fairly consistent with current adult obesity prevalence", said Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Children with severe obesity - which affects 4.5 million children in the United States - face only a one in five chance of being normal weight adults.
Because "obesity is hard to reverse at any age", she said, prevention is key.
"Plenty of cost-effective strategies have been identified that promote healthy foods, beverages, and physical activity within school and community settings", Ward said.
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