February 4/Beverly Hills, Calif./PRNewswire -- Can an obese adult's condition be pre-determined as early as five years old? A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine of over 7,000 kindergarten children found that "overweight 5 year olds were four times as likely as normal-weight children to become obese." The study reflects the experience of doctors at the Khalili Center, a multi-disciplinary bariatric and general surgery practice in Beverly Hills, Calif., whose patients tell stories of a lifetime of being overweight.

Dr. G. Kai Nishi, a bariatric and general surgeon with the Khalili Center, is not at all surprised by the results of this study:  "It is rare that an obese patient tells me that they have only recently gained the majority of their weight. In fact, the majority of my patients have struggled with being overweight or obese for most of their lives."

Dr. Theodore Khalili does not need a study to know that it is imperative for obesity prevention to begin early in life.  "Early education and prevention is one of the key elements in the fight against obesity," Khalili says, "and the sooner the better to educate young children on healthy eating habits and the importance of daily exercise."  Along with his partners, Nishi and Dr. Eraj Basseri, the trio has performed over 5,000 weight loss surgery procedures.

In fact, Khalili feels so strongly about this education, he established the Khalili Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes healthy lifestyles through education and action, and proactively addresses the childhood obesity epidemic through early intervention.  Khalili Center physicians and dietitians go into local elementary schools to make presentations and discuss healthy lifestyles with the kids.  "The kids are so responsive and ask a lot of great questions," says Khalili. "They seem genuinely interested in being healthy."

The study also noted that some of the obese or overweight kindergarten children lost their excess weight within the next few years; however, by age 11, there were fewer changes, and most of those who were obese or overweight at 11 stayed that way, and those whose weight was normal did not become fat.

The study can be seen at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1309753