Body fatness in childhood can affect the body fatness in adulthood
Childhood overweight and obesity are becoming gradually more common, not only in high-income countries, but in industrialized areas in all of the countries around the world. Children who are overweight are more likely to stay overweight as adults or might become obese.
The possibility of an obese or overweight child to become or remain obese in adulthood is related to the degree of body fatness and the age at which they were assessed. If the child is below 10 years old, the degree of obesity or overweight is only partially related to adult fatness, but when the child is older than 18 years old, obesity will largely be fixed.
When adults are not overweight, they might also have an increase risk of morbidity and mortality from being overweight in adolescence.
Childhood overweight and obesity are causes of chronic diseases as with overweight and obesity in adulthood. The consequences of obesity might take years or even decades to become evident, but some of the consequences might appear during childhood such as cardiovascular diseases, like hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure or elevated insulin levels.
Children who experienced very low energy diets or growth restriction or very in very early life including in utero, but who then gained weight rapidly in infancy or early childhood, are more likely to become obese and to develop type 2 diabetes as children and as adults.
Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian