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Researchers May Be Able to Predict Obesity at Birth

A group of researchers have identified a possible indicator of future obesity for infants. Dr. Elsie Taveras is a pediatrician and a researcher at Harvard University. Taveras led a study to determine the growth rates of infants and how they affect could predict the likelihood infants will become obese later in life.

Taveras’s study tracked 45,000 children under the age of 11. All of these children were measured during regular checkups. These growth measurements tracked their growth and compared them to other children in the same age and gender categories.

According to the study, infants that have passed two major milestones on growth charges by their second birthday are much more likely to become obese by early childhood. In fact, the likelihood of childhood obesity for those children can be twice as high as those who grew more slowly. Taveras told researchers that abnormally high growth rates in infants should be a major red flag to physicians.

Additionally, the study showed that larger infants who demonstrated high growth rates were at the greatest risk of developing obesity. However, any infant that grew at an above average rate was at risk of becoming obese within a few years.

Taveras stated that this study may dispel some of the previous conceptions of health in infants. Currently, most health professionals feel that babies that grow faster are more likely to be healthier. Taveras and the other authors of the study want them to reconsider this perspective.

Skepticism of Taveras’s Study

Not everyone is ready to take Taveras’s claims at face value. They are ready to point out that babies may grow at different rates. Some may show sudden growth bursts before their growth rates taper off.

These professionals emphasize that it can be risky to flag an infant because they are growing quickly in the beginning. This practice could encourage people to place children on diets at a young age. These diets could deprive them of nutrients or even change their feeding patterns in such a way that they could develop obesity problems later in life.

Dr. Michelle Lampl is one of the physicians who isn’t quite ready to accept the results on Taveras’s study. According to Lampl, the study provides a very generalized set of guidelines. At the same time, they seem very helpful and straightforward. As a result, many people are probably going to be all too eager to accept the results.

Lampl and a couple of her colleagues have voiced their concerns that the study may be more dangerous than helpful. However, others are willing to support Taveras’s work. Dr. Joanna Lewis said that it is never too early to identify the risk of a child developing obesity. Lewis said that many of the obese children she finds have been fed solid foods before they were six months old. This study is further evidence that parents should avoid giving solid food to infants.

Kalen Smith is a professional Internet marketer, consumer researcher and writer. He has been a writer for Weight Loss Triumph and is the cofounder of the blog Great Paleo Diet Cookbooks, where he writes about the paleo diet and lifestyle.

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