Beach Bum

Childhood Obesity in the Lazy Days of Summer

Seasonal Variations in Overweight and Obesity Among Elementary School ChildrenThe lazy days of summer are speeding by and new research is suggesting once again that summer might be a time when some kids have a high risk for developing obesity. Tzu-An Chen and colleagues conducted a careful longitudinal analysis of 1,651 elementary school children from kindergarten to the beginning of fifth grade. They found:

Post kindergarten and post second grade summer months were times when some children transitioned into overweight/obesity.

For some kids, summertime is an active season that makes no difference in their weight status. For others, summer brings a risk of progressing into obesity, with have lifelong effects on health. In this study and in others, demographics seem to play a role.

Summertime weight gain appears to be a greater risk for black and Hispanic children, as well as children who already have some excess weight. Other studies have identified summertime as a time when adolescents might have a higher risk of developing obesity.

Oddly, you won’t find much rigorous, prospective research on summertime interventions to prevent childhood obesity. Summer recreation programs are obvious targets for study. This gap in the evidence base should be filled without delay. Good research can point the way to effective interventions for a critical time in the lives of many children.

Click here for the study by Chen et al and here for a systematic review of the subject.

Beach Bum, photograph © Danielle York / flickr

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July 18, 2016

2 Responses to “Childhood Obesity in the Lazy Days of Summer”

  1. July 18, 2016 at 11:49 am, Stephen Phillips said:

    Kids have linear growth potential…adults do not
    That means kids can grow into there weight…we cannot (youth is spoiled on the young).
    Many kids will develop excess adipose tissue before they experience a growth spurt. Diagnosing obesity and stigmatizing a child simply because of an “adipose spurt”.is a rush to judgement . Family and lifestyle histories must be evaluated prior to interventions
    Indiscriminate weight loss interventions for kids can interfere with normal development and in fact foster lifelong obesity

    Stephen Phillips
    American Association of Bariatric Counselors


  2. July 20, 2016 at 10:50 am, Allen Browne said:

    I had a child who gained during the summer – when he can came off his ADHD meds.

    Summer is not a new phenomena – but our environment has changed. I think we miss the forest for the trees.