Five-year-olds who carry around extra weight may face four times the risk of being obese at 14, compared to their normal-weight peers, a study found.
Of the children who became obese between the ages of 5 and 14, nearly half were overweight in kindergarten.
"We wanted to learn what are the ages of vulnerability and greater risk for new cases of obesity? We found that new cases of obesity tended to increase early on," said study author Solveig Cunningham, of Emory University in Atlanta.
In the report, published in the Jan. 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers also found that socioeconomic status or ethnicity had no impact on obesity.
"Obesity affects kids across all races and socioeconomic status. Children from the wealthiest groups tended to have somewhat lower obesity risks, but the differences weren't striking," Cunningham said.