April 7th, 2009
11:26 AM ET

Study: One in five obese among four-year-olds

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/04/07/obesity.preschool.children/art.obese.toddler.gi.jpg]
Lindsey Tanner

A striking new study says almost one in five American four-year-olds is obese, and the rate is alarmingly higher among American Indian children, with nearly a third of them obese. Researchers were surprised to see differences by race at so early an age.

Overall, more than half a million four-year-olds are obese, the study suggests. Obesity is more common in Hispanic and black youngsters, too, but the disparity is most startling in American Indians, whose rate is almost double that of whites.

The lead author said that rate is worrisome among children so young, even in a population at higher risk for obesity because of other health problems and economic disadvantages.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care • Medical News • Nutrition • Parenting
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    Fast food is slow suicide. We must do better with our youth. This is a ridiculous display of our culture. While the rest of the world goes hungry, we have an epidemic of obesity. Unbelievable excess.

    April 7, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  2. GF, Los Angeles

    I agree with you Big Mark. Sit at a mall or amusement park and observe the number of obese people there are in this society that pass by – young and old – and it's truly astounding. We are a nation of "piggies" and we're going to eat ourselves to an early grave with higher healthcare costs.

    April 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  3. Louie from Lexington, SC

    OK, now the California corn syrup board is after me (aka Melissa B in California)! Jeepers! When you speak the truth, they all start squawking! Yes, sugar may be sugar, but it's the price that matters. High fructose corn (HFCS) syrup is the poor mans sugar, and food manufacturers have the world hooked on cheap processed food loaded with cheap HFCS. As for common sense? What do most folks pick if they only have $1.50? A loaf of bread with HFCS for $0.99, or the loaf without the HFCS for $1.49? Then check the caloric count per slice of bread – and beware the trick of serving size. And the next time you go to the grocer, read each label for HFCS, and try to buy prodcuts without it. It will be a challenge. Now that is not fear, but the truth! Now I will repeat: Wake up and ditch the corn!

    April 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    When my children were 4 years old there were a lot of chubby 4 year olds around. By the time they were 5 and 6 they had slimmed down, losing the baby fat of their toddler years. We emphasized chicken and fish for meals along with a lot of vegetables and fruits. If you have a child that is tending towards obesity don't keep sweets in the house and when you fix their dinner plate make the helpings smaller. A lot of times that is all it takes.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  5. Melissa B in California

    @ Louie from Lexington,
    Your fear of all things corn syrup is nonsense. Sugar is sugar, unless you're a diabetic, fructose vs. sucrose. Are you afraid of all things corn? Kids can eat sugar, just use common sense, nothing in excess.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  6. DC

    When I see overweight kids i feel sad for them... Their parent s may think they are cute and they love them just the way they are. Most of the time the parents are also overweight, but what they wont see hear or know is how much other kids will tease. How discouraged the kid will feel when he might have a hard time getting a date, playing a sport he likes. I feel as parents just watch their kids grow and grow and when their kids are miserable they like to blame fast food places, video games, never themselves for causing their children pain.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  7. Isabel

    Childhood obesity may be related to hereditary factors, but also the bad eating habits and inactivity. The practice of physical exercise combined with balanced diet is fundamental rules for all children.

    Nowadays we have run and split us into several tasks (household and office); in that case to use prepared foods or fast foods becomes easier and convenient. Another villain that can not be forgotten is the soda and the videogame. These are the consequences of modern times.

    The child learns by the model of parents, so when they see the exercise, this approach serves as a stimulus for her to learn early to acquire healthy habits. When parents are sedentary, their children probably will be, and future may develop diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart problems.

    April 7, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  8. Travis

    Unplug the nintendo and make them go outside and play!! I know it's a radical thought, but it's so crazy it might just work.

    April 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  9. Louie from Lexington, SC

    Look no further than high fructose corn syrup. It's in every product these kids eat. It's pure empty super calories. Wake up and ditch the corn!

    April 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  10. John from Phoenix

    Big Mark...I take offense to your definition of our nation being comprised of Pork and Pig, Potato-headed morbids. Some folk genuinely have this as an illness. But on the other hand I am offended by bad spellers. You know, the kind who put a "Toe" on Potato. Anyway, we are a society of bad decision makers who have excuses for everything, and our obesity and illiteracy is directly related to these lazy tendencies. So let's not point fingers my big brother, but offer solution and inspire instead. So let's combined and say a short prayer that our nation can began to make better decisions related to all these issues, and in the meantime, pass the Big Mac......Big Mark

    April 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  11. Big Mark

    we are a nation of "potatoe-people" i see so many morbidly obese humans every day it's sickening and disgusting. Americans are literally "eating themselves to death"!!! we are a nation of *piggies* and *porkies*!! LOL!

    April 7, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  12. GF, Los Angeles

    I grew up poor but I was never overweight because culturally vegetables were the main meal instead of meat. The American culture places meat as the main meal above vegetables and with the lack of physical activity at school and home – we're seeing more obese kids then ever. Plus more families tend to eat out more whether it be fast food or sit down – it's much more fattening then cooking at home. The amount of overweight people is truly frightening – what will healthcare costs become as more Americans get heavier and sicker?

    April 7, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  13. abc ~ anything but california hugh

    Blame the parents, plain and simple. If you let your kids eat whatever they want and when they get a bit older than four years old and they do little exercise except playing video games or become couch-potatoes watching TV the result is a no brainer! Young children do not know what they're doing to their bodies, their parents are at fault. Parents need to be more responsible for their children's health.

    April 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  14. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    When you have two working parents-–we loose "getting back to basic nutritional needs,"---it is fast times at RIdgemount High--fast foods--which results in "fat kids." No one cooks anymore.

    April 7, 2009 at 11:33 am |