Age 2 the "tipping point" for obesity

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Washington, Feb 12 (ANI): The "tipping point" in obesity often occurs before two years of age, and sometimes as early as three months, when the child is learning how much and what to eat, a new research claims.

The study has been published this month in the journal Clinical Pediatrics (published by SAGE).

"I really think this should be a wake up call for doctors," said principal investigator Dr. John Harrington, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters and an assistant professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School. "Too often, doctors wait until medical complications arise before they begin treatment. What this study suggests is that prevention of obesity should begin far, far earlier."

To reach the conclusion, researchers examined records from a pediatric practice of 111 children whose body mass index (BMI) exceeded 85 percent of the general population. Researchers determined that these children had started gaining weight in infancy at an average rate of .08 excess BMI units per month. On average, this progression began when the children were three months old. Over half the children became overweight at or before age 2 and 90 percent before reaching their 5th birthday.

The study suggests obesity prevention efforts should begin before age two, when children reach a "tipping point" in a progression that leads to obesity later in life.

"Our study suggests that doctors may want to start reviewing the diet of children during early well-child visits," said Harrington. "Getting parents and children to change habits that have already taken hold is a monumental challenge fraught with road-blocks and disappointments. This study indicates that we may need to discuss inappropriate weight gain early in infancy to affect meaningful changes in the current trend of obesity." (ANI)

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