Does Baby Fat = Adult Fat?

Fat babies with extreme obesity in diapers

The United States of America has a problem with childhood obesity.

As a result, more scientific research is being conducted into the size and scope of the problem.

In a recent piece of research, scientists examined U.S. data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort for American kids who were born in 2001.

After adjusting the statistics, the study authors found that 32% of the children aged 9 months were either at risk (15%) for becoming obese or were obese (17%). 34% were at risk or obese by the age of 2.

Since there is no accepted measure of obesity in very young children, the researchers considered kids in the study to be at risk for becoming obese if their weight was in the 85th to 95th percentile on standard growth charts.

  • Children who were considered obese at the age of 9 months had the highest risk for being obese at age 2.
  • 44% of babies who met the study’s definition of obese at 9 months remained obese at age 2.
  • The overall percentage of children considered obese increased from 17% at 9 months to 20% at age 2.

Not looking very good…is it?

“It seems like there tends to be a shift to kids getting heavier” over time, said the study’s lead author, Brian G. Moss, (Wayne State University School of Social Work). “And their weight gain, he said, is beyond that which would be expected as youngsters grow”.

So, does this mean that your chubby little 9 month old little bundle of joy is doomed to be obese at 2 years and fat at 32 years?

Probably not.

This study didn’t look at the reasons for childhood obesity and lead author Brian Moss said that ” the changes could have something to do with changes in their lives, such as entering daycare or starting to eat regular food, but the precise causes are not clear”.

So, before any parents start freaking out and putting their little bundle o’ joy on some form of pediatric Atkins diet….relax.

  • Feed him/her real food
  • Keep away from the processed/junk  food
  • And let them run around like little kids are supposed to

Heck, that would probably be good advice for Mom & Dad as well.


The study appears in the January-February 2011 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Douglas Robb

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, and a student of nutrition and exercise science. He's also the co-founder of the Hive Health Media. Since 2008, Doug has expanded his impact by bringing his real-world experience online via the health & fitness blog – Health Habits.

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