Healthy lifestyle habits are most effective when developed at a young age, according to a new study.
Research conducted in Sweden found that active lifestyle habits, reduced sedentary time and healthier diets helped younger obese children lose weight. When introduced to adolescents, these habits proved less effective.
A Los Angeles Times article cites the study’s accompanying editorial written by Drs. Jennifer Woo Baidal and Elsie Taveras, claiming the age at which children adopt healthy lifestyle habits is a crucial factor in whether they become healthier human beings or continue on a pathway to adult obesity:
More and more evidence points to early childhood as a pivotal time for preventing in young children an obesity trajectory that is hard to alter by the time they enter middle school. . . . [A]ge at the start of treatment appears to be of major importance.
The article noted that most obese adolescents were overweight by the age of seven, reinforcing the notion that parents should teach their children how to lead healthy lifestyles at a young age.