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Abstract

American children are at the epicenter of a global childhood obesity epidemic. Due to increased adiposity, school-aged children are being routinely diagnosed with adult illnesses like Type II diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol levels. The keys to combating these epidemiological trends are prevention and early intervention. Since the majority of American children are enrolled in school, school-based interventions offer enormous potential in teaching lifelong health habits and curbing the incidence of childhood obesity, especially when these habits are taught proactively as a component of early childhood education. Adiposity rebound is the critical period of increasing body mass index (BMI), that occurs at about age six, after the early childhood nadir on BMI growth charts. Due to this classical occurrence in school-aged children, early childhood education is an ideal therapeutic window for implementing school-based obesity prevention strategies. This essay will examine the phenomenon of adiposity rebound and the role that teachers and schools may play in combating the issues related to childhood obesity during this critical period of early development.

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