"All of the signs are pointing in the wrong direction," says Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"Young kids are getting what have traditionally been adult-type diseases — type 2 diabetes and heart disease," she says. "It's like advanced aging."
"These kids are headed for real trouble," agrees S. Jay Olshansky, a professor of public health and a researcher at the Center on Aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their parents may not be faring so well, either, he says. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.
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