If only we knew from the start which babies were predisposed to becoming diabetic and hypertensive and overweight . . . News out this week suggests we can. NBC News reports that British researchers have published findings in the journal PLOS ONE saying that a simple assessment can predict at birth a baby’s likelihood of becoming obese during childhood. The formula, available as an online calculator here, estimates the child’s obesity risk based on its birth weight, the body mass index of the parents, the number of people in the household, the mother’s professional status and whether she smoked during pregnancy.
The hope is to help families will take steps to control the weight of babies and small children before medical problems arise. Philippe Froguel of Imperial College London, who led the study, explained that teaching parents about
the dangers of over-feeding and bad nutritional habits at a young age is much more effective than having to teach children how to lose weight.
Froguel’s team developed their formula following 4,000 Finnish children since 1986. Childhood obesity is a leading cause of early type 2 diabetes, as well as various types of cardiovascular disease. (Read more)