Obese children are far less likely to reach old age, according to US researchers. In a cohort of almost 5000 American Indians, they studied the effect of cardiovascular risk factors that were present in childhood on lifespan. A history of childhood obesity more than doubled the risk of dying from causes other than accident, suicide or homicide before the age of 55 years (incidence rate ratio 2.3). Although obesity conferred the strongest association with premature death, there were also significant associations between premature death and both impaired glucose tolerance and hypertension. Interestingly, no association with cholesterol levels was observed. The study was also of note because of its length — participants were followed up for a median of 24 years.