Today, as many as 20 per cent of children are overweight. Our results suggest that preventing and treating overweight in prepubescent teenagers can help to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on.
These are encouraging results.
Research among girls is now needed
The next stage is to study whether women experience the same beneficial results by reducing their BMI before puberty, and whether the benefits also apply to other weight-related conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
And we also need to find out whether losing weight in adulthood carries the same benefits.
Other studies show that weight loss in adulthood delays the development of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, we expect that weight loss at any time from childhood to adulthood has the same beneficial effect.
This research was funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant number 633595, DynaHEALTH) and by the European Research Council under the European Union Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007–2013, ERC grant number 281419, childgrowth2cancer).