November 16 2011

Is It Good To Be A Chubby Kid?

Julie Gunlock

The familiar line out of Washington is that childhood obesity will lead to a life of sloth, disease and early death.  Fat kids even get blamed for the bad economy.

In a rather bizarre speech in March before the National League of Cities, the First Lady actually said “I’d like to spend a moment today really to focus on the economic impact that [childhood obesity] is having on cities and towns all across America…childhood obesity is already affecting your communities.  It’s already weighing down your budgets.  It’s already hampering economic growth.”

Geese…now we’re blaming chubby kids for the bad economy?

Yet, a new study out of England throws water on Michelle Obama’s favorite talking point about overweight children’s bleak future and damaging economic impact. 

In the study, published this month in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers reviewed 11 academic studies that included thousands of people living in western countries. They found that when adult BMI was accounted for, people at the lower end of BMI in childhood who became obese later in life actually had the highest chances of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

In other words, if you’re a skinny kid who grows up to be obese, you have a higher risk of developing deadly diseases than an obese child who continues to be obese in adulthood.

This is the second study, conducted by these same researches, to come to the same conclusion. In the first study, the researchers came to similar conclusions--finding that individuals are more at risk of health problems if they were lean children and became obese as adults.  Even more shocking, the first study revealed that overweight children possessed what’s called a “protective effect” which helps them achieve a lower BMI as adults.

These studies prove one thing: the body remains a mystery to the medical and scientific field.  Making blanket statements (and blanket policy proposals) does nothing to help kids.

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