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The study notes that kids ages 2-5 have a low chance of resolving a weight problem by adolescence if all three factors are present.
Researchers note these results could allow health care providers to compile a simple “risk score” and, therefore, focus on prevention.
"Because clinicians haven't been able to tell which children will grow up to become teens with excess weight, it's been hard to target interventions for those most at risk," said Kate Lycett, one of the study’s authors.
The study looked at two cohorts of children, each group of about 3,500 participants. Their weight and 25 “potential obesity-relevant clinical indicators” were measured every two years.
The 25 potential indicators included breastfeeding and amount of time spent outside. The study concluded the “lifestyle factors were not predictive of weight outcomes.”
Markus Juonala, the study’s lead author, said by removing focus on unlikely contributors, it should provide more opportunities for providers to focus on solutions.
"Combining data on these three easily obtainable risk factors may help clinicians make appropriate decisions targeting care to those most at risk of adolescent obesity," Juonala said.