Overweight Infants More Likely to Become Obese Youngsters, Says National Study
Baby fat can be a serious issue, according to a new federal study of 1,000 children, which shows that infants and young children who are overweight at any point are more likely to remain overweight and even become obese by age 12.
"The general public believes that kids can grow out of any problems they are having with weight," said Dr. Philip Nader, M.D., professor emeritus of pediatrics at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who is primary author of the study. He and his co-authors from 10 different institutions around the nation said the group pursued the study because obesity is a major public health problem in the United States.
The study, published in Pediatrics this month, was sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Early Childcare Research Network.
The researchers systematically weighed and measured children at regular intervals from 24 months through age 12. Children overweight at least once during their measurements at 24, 36, and 54 months were five times more likely to be overweight at age 12 than those never categorized as overweight, the study concluded.
Children overweight twice during ages 7, 9, and 11 were 25 times more likely to be overweight by age 12, and school-age children overweight three times during the study were 374 times more likely to be overweight at age 12.
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