STUDY: Your kindergartner’s weight matters

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The baby fat lingering around your 5-year-old’s face (and tummy and thighs) may be an indicator of his or her weight for many years to come, a new study suggests.

Children who enter kindergarten overweight are four times more likely than their normal weight peers to become obese by age 14, researchers say.

Though recent studies have shown signs of progress in the fight against childhood obesity, an estimated one out of every eight preschoolers in the United States is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers are higher in African-American and Hispanic populations, at one in five and one in six, respectively.

The new study, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests a big part of a child’s obesity risk is already established by age 5.

Interventions to combat childhood obesity may need to focus on those children who are overweight early in life, the study authors say.