Infant weight gain can predict later obesity

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Washington, Mar 30 (ANI): Rapid changes in weight during infancy increase children's risk of later obesity, says a new study.

According to a new study led by researchers in the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention at Harvard Medical School and Harvard ilgrim Health Care, as well as Children's Hospital Boston, rapid weight gain during the first six months of life may place a child at risk for obesity by age 3.

"There is increasing evidence that rapid changes in weight during infancy increase children's risk of later obesity," says lead author Elsie Taveras, assistant professor in the HMS Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention and co-director of the One Step Ahead clinic, a pediatric overweight prevention program at Children's Hospital Boston.

"The mounting evidence suggests that infancy may be a critical period during which to prevent childhood obesity and its related consequences," the expert added.

The study has been published in the April edition of the journal Pediatrics.

To reach the conclusion, researchers examined how weight and body length, or weight-for-length, in infancy can influence later obesity.

The team mined self-reported data from Project Viva, an ongoing study led by Matthew Gillman, senior author on the paper, of more than 2,000 pregnant women and their children. They isolated a subgroup of 559 mother/child pairs and studied patterns of weight gain in infancy and their subsequent three-year effect.

In addition to looking at static weight and length measures, the team also looked at weight gain as a dynamic process, measuring not only how much but how quickly an infant gained weight.

The connection between rapid infant weight gain and later obesity was striking, even after adjusting for factors such as premature babies or those underweight at birth. (ANI)

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