Babies Getting Fatter

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Development/Milestones: Babies

Researchers say infants are 59 percent more likely to be overweight today than they were two decades ago. In a study in Obesity, 120,680 children under six years of age found that children, especially infants, are now more likely to be overweight. Looking at records collected from pediatricians working with a Massachusetts HMO for the years 1980 to 2001, the investigators found that the prevalence of overweight children climbed from 6.3 percent to 10 percent during those 22 years. In addition, the proportion of children at risk of becoming overweight grew from 11.1 percent to 14.4 percent overall. Infants had a 59 percent increased risk of being overweight, and the number of overweight infants increased by 74 percent, the researchers found.

The data suggests that obesity prevention may need to start even before babies are born. A number of reasons were cited for the trend. The first is that women who become pregnant weigh more than they ever have and maternal body mass index is a determinate of infant weight at birth and after. In addition, more mothers are putting on excess weight during pregnancy compared with decades past.

How babies are fed may also play a role in that infants that are breast-fed tend to gain weight more slowly than formula-fed infants. Early weight gain can have dire consequences for long-term health. Studies suggest that gaining excess weight during the first months of life is associated with becoming overweight and developing high blood pressure years later. Other data suggests that infants who gain excess weight are more likely to suffer from wheezing, which can lead to asthma. What are your thoughts? Do you notice that babies tned to be larger than in years gone by?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.