BALTIMORE -- Does you club offer fitness programming to girls ages 9 to 12 years old? You might want to. The incidence of girls being overweight was greater at age 9 to 12 than it was in later adolescence, and girls who were overweight during childhood were 11 to 30 times more likely to be obese in young adulthood, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Researchers studied the prevalence and incidence of overweight in African-American and Caucasian girls, and examined associations between adolescent overweight and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Using data from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study (NGHS), annual measurements were taken from 1,166 Caucasian girls and 1,213 African-American girls ages 9 to 10, and 18 years.

Rates of overweight increased through adolescence from 7 percent to 10 percent in the Caucasian girls and from 17 percent to 24 percent in the African-American girls. Overweight was significantly associated with increased percent body fat, sum of skinfolds and waist circumference measurements, and unhealthful systolic and diastolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, according to the study. Researchers found that a relationship between CVD risk factors and overweight was present at age 9.