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Extra weight in early childhood foretells later disease risk

Ages 2 to 6 identified as critical for predicting problems with metabolic syndrome in adulthood

3:50pm, November 19, 2010

Baby fat can be a harbinger of serious disease later on. Being overweight as a young child is a strong predictor of diabetes and heart disease risk in early adulthood, a new Dutch study finds.

Previous research has linked being overweight in childhood with a higher risk of these chronic diseases in adulthood, but the new study is the first to identify the ages between 2 and 6 years as the most important in predicting later risk of metabolic syndrome, says the study’s lead author, physician Marlou de Kroon of VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. The condition is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The new work “is very interesting,” says cardiologist Gerald Berenson, because it reveals the earliest and most critical age for predicting adult weight problems and risk of serious ch

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