Tall Kids More Likely To Be Heavy Adults, Study Says

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Big Kids

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A new study shows that tall third-graders are at risk for adult obesity. Credit: aussiegall, Flickr

Being taller than average may put kids at risk for adult obesity, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study, which included 2,800 American kids, shows that those who were both overweight and taller than their peers by the age of 8 had a higher risk of being overweight or obese by age 18, FOXNews reports. This may be worrisome to parents -- and doctors -- who assume that tall children who carry extra weight will thin out over time as they continue to grow.
Lead researcher Dr. Steven Stovitz, an associate professor of family medicine and community at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, says that the study's findings would seem to refute that commonly held belief. According to FOXNews, Stovitz says that being tall may be a sign of advanced skeletal maturity. That means that a child moves toward his adult height at a faster rate than his smaller peers.

However, at the same time, tall kids face the risk that they may continue to gain weight even as their "vertical growth" slows. The result? An increase in the child's body mass index and a high risk of obesity.

The study found that third graders who were taller than three-quarters of their same-sex peers have the greatest risk of becoming heavy adults, and had an 85 percent chance of being overweight as a high-school senior.

Related: One in 10 Obese People Think Their Body is Healthy, Obesity Trend in Preschoolers Stabilizing

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.