CHOICES research predicts long-term risks of obesity in children

December 21, 2017

How does obesity in childhood affect weight status into adulthood? A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Simulation of Growth Trajectories of Childhood Obesity into Adulthood,” explores the long-term risks of obesity later in life given current weight and age.

The study, which is part of the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES), developed a simulation model to predict growth trajectories. The model pooled five existing U.S. data sets containing 176,720 observations of repeated height and weight information from 41,567 children and adults.

Results show that the majority (57.3%) of current U.S. children aged 2-19 years will be obese at 35 years of age. Furthermore, among obese children, the likelihood of being obese as an adult increases as obese children age. In children that are obese at 2 years, there is a 74.9% probability that they will still be obese at 35; the probability increases to 88.2% if the child is obese at 19 years. The authors suggest the results of this model support the need for increased efforts to develop and implement effective interventions for children who are already obese.

NCCOR’s projects identify, design, and evaluate practical and sustainable interventions, especially in high-risk populations and communities. Through these projects, NCCOR helps improve the ability of childhood obesity researchers and program evaluators to conduct research and evaluation. Some examples:

  • NCCOR supported and helped design the National Institutes of Health–funded Healthy Communities Study and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation–funded Childhood Obesity Declines project. The Healthy Communities Study assessed policies and programs designed to address childhood obesity rates in communities where those rates were the highest. The Childhood Obesity Declines project examined possible drivers and contributors that may influence reported declines in childhood obesity rates.
  • NCCOR worked with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education to incorporate evidence-based obesity prevention strategies into the existing SNAP-Ed Toolkit and to develop the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework.
  • NCCOR’s Engaging Health Care Providers and Systems workgroup is starting a new project to develop a module-based, collaborative learning project to evaluate community-based healthy weight programs. The project is intended to promote sharing of experiences, resources, and lessons learned for practitioners to learn about evaluation practices from one another.

To read the full research article about the CHOICES research, visit: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1703860

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