Remission of obesity among a nationally representative sample of US children

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Little is known about the incidence and natural history of obesity remission among children outside of weight loss programmes.


The objectives are to characterize and identify sociodemographic and early life predictors of obesity remission between kindergarten and eighth grade among a nationally representative sample of US children.


The sample included children with obesity [age-specific and gender-specific body mass index percentile (BMI) ≥95] at the spring kindergarten assessment of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99. Weight categories across 8 years of follow-up were used to identify three transition patterns: persistent obesity remission, non-persistent obesity remission and non-remission. Weight, height and BMI changes between remission categories were examined and predictors of persistent remission were identified.


One-third of children with obesity in kindergarten experienced remission during follow-up and 21.6% of children experienced persistent remission through eighth grade. Female gender and high socio-economic status predicted persistent remission; these associations were attenuated after accounting for baseline BMI. Children experiencing persistent remission gained less weight across waves than those experiencing non-remission.


A meaningful proportion of young children with obesity experience remission by eighth grade. Further study is needed to identify factors that support obesity remission among children outside of treatment contexts.

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