One-Third of U.S. Babies Overweight or Obese
January 4, 2011
Coming in 2011: The Biggest Loser: Babies Edition? According to a new long-term study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, a whopping 32 percent of babies in the U.S. were found to be too fat by 9 months of age, and more than 34 percent of them were overweight or obese by the time they were 2 years old, reports MSNBC.
The study followed 7,500 babies born in 2001, and the children’s weight and height (or length, for the infants) were measured at 9 months and at 2 years. Those measurements were then compared to CDC growth charts. The researchers defined children who were above the 85th percentile for weight compared with height overweight and those above the 95th percentile, obese.
The good news is that some of the fattest 9-month-olds had lost their excess weight by the age of 2, meaning that overweight or obese babies aren’t doomed to be fat children or adults. Unfortunately, during that same period, some of the normal-weight infants had become overweight. And surprisingly, high birth weight wasn’t a reliable predictor of obesity, as some big babies thinned out rapidly, while some low birth weight babies became heavy, possibly due to over-feeding. Of greatest concern was that 32 percent of kids born in 2001 fell into the overweight range, which was more than double the 15 percent of kids whose measurements had been used in the creation of the growth charts.
Ultimately, experts say that the remedy is simple: monitoring quantity and quality of the calories given to infants and toddlers. This means avoiding high-fat and high-sugar foods and beverages, breastfeeding if possible, and paying attention to portion sizes.
Parents, have you ever been told that your baby or toddler was overweight or obese? Did it worry you?