Navigation Links
Infant weight gain linked to childhood obesity
Date:3/29/2009

BOSTON, Mass. (March 30, 2009) As childhood obesity continues its thirty-year advance from occasional curiosity to cultural epidemic, health care providers are struggling to find out whyand the reasons are many. Increasingly sedentary environments for both adults and children, as well as cheap and ubiquitous processed foods no doubt play a role, but researchers are finding more evidence that the first clues for childhood obesity may begin as far back as early infancy.

A new study led by researchers in the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, as well as Children's Hospital Boston, has found that rapid weight gain during the first six months of life may place a child at risk for obesity by age 3.

"There is increasing evidence that rapid changes in weight during infancy increase children's risk of later obesity," says lead author Elsie Taveras, assistant professor in the HMS Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention and co-director of the One Step Ahead clinic, a pediatric overweight prevention program at Children's Hospital Boston. "The mounting evidence suggests that infancy may be a critical period during which to prevent childhood obesity and its related consequences."

These findings appear in the April edition of the journal Pediatrics.

Most prior studies examining the relationship between infant weight gain and later childhood obesity focus primarily on body weight. However, measures of length, in addition to weight, together reflect body fatness better than weight alone. In this study, Dr. Taveras and colleagues in the HMS Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention examined how weight and body length, or weight-for-length, in infancy can influence later obesity.

The team mined self-reported data from Project Viva, an ongoing study led by Matthew Gillman, senior author on the paper, of more than 2,000 pregnant women and their children. They isolated a subgroup of 559 mother/child pairs and studied patterns of weight gain in infancy and their subsequent three-year effect. In addition to looking at static weight and length measures, the team also looked at weight gain as a dynamic process, measuring not only how much but how quickly an infant gained weight.

The connection between rapid infant weight gain and later obesity was striking, even after adjusting for factors such as premature babies or those underweight at birth. Take for example two infants with the same birth weight who, after six months, weigh 7.7 kg (16.9 pounds) and 8.4 kg (18.4 pounds), a 0.7 kg (1.5 pounds) difference. According to study estimates, the heavier of these two infants would have a 40% higher risk of obesity at age 3 (after adjusting for potential confounders).

While this study confirms earlier ones examining the relation between infancy and childhood weight, there were certain limitations. For example, the researchers weren't able to examine social and behavioral interactions around feeding between parents and infants. And while families in the study represented various ethnic backgrounds, they were fairly homogeneous socioeconomically, so there may be some question regarding how widely the results can be generalized.

Still, when seen in the context of other research, the relationship between infant and childhood weight is compelling.

"There is still a lot more we need to understand about the mechanisms of how this all fits together," says Taveras. "But this data clearly shows how the earliest interventions might actually have very long-term benefits."

Taveras also points out that these findings provide initial evidence that our cultural affirmation of infants who top the growth charts, and even our notions of appropriate weight gain during pregnancy, may prove to be excessive.

"At first it may seem implausible that weight gain over just a few months early in infancy could have long-term health consequences, but it makes sense because so much of human development takes place during that periodand even before birth," says Matthew Gillman, director of the department's Obesity Prevention Program. "Now we need to find out how to modify weight gain in infancy in ways that balance the needs of the brain and the body."


'/>"/>

Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Nicotine in breast milk disrupts infants sleep patterns
2. Shaking may cause brain damage and serious long-term effects to infants
3. Maternal depression and controlling behavior associated with increased stress response in infants
4. Repeat steroids to premature infants linked to cerebral palsy
5. Babies raised in bilingual homes learn new words differently than infants learning one language
6. Joint Center Says New Approach Required to Reduce Black Infant Mortality
7. After Infant Gripe Water Recall Scare, Homeopathic Medicine Offers Safe Alternative
8. Vaginal progesterone gel may improve infant outcomes and...
9. Research shows how genetic mutation causes epilepsy in infants
10. Combination vaccines okay for infants, study shows
11. New York Citys infant mortality rate declined in 2006
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping ... fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness ... size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June ... , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to ... is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as ... City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic ... many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping ... released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 Florida attorneys are recognized ... this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of lawyers practicing within the ... this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders Mark D. Bloom, Burt ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ITASCA, Ill. , June 23, 2016  In a startling ... states are failing their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan ... , a definitive ranking of how states are tackling the ... rating to only four states – Kentucky , ... and Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Bracket , a ... its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) ... on June 26 – 30, 2016 in Philadelphia ... electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind to fully ... Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Guerbet announced today that it has ... Horizon Award . One of 12 suppliers ... for its support of Premier members through exceptional local ... and commitment to lower costs. ... of our outstanding customer service from Premier," says ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: