(AP) — Those efforts to fight obesity in schools? Think younger. A new study finds that much of a child's “weight fate” is set by age 5, and that nearly half of kids who became obese by the eighth grade were already overweight when they started kindergarten.
The study was published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. It tracked more than 7,700 children. When they started kindergarten, 12 percent were obese and 15 percent were overweight. By eighth grade, 21 percent were obese and 17 percent were overweight.
The study's lead researcher says the findings do not mean that it's too late for schools to act, but their best tactic may be to focus on kids who are overweight and try to encourage exercise and healthy eating.