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Most babies slow to grow catch up by early teens
Date:2/24/2013

putting them at risk of obesity later in life by encouraging too rapid weight gain.

The study shows that there were very different patterns of recovery between the early and late groups, even when other factors like the mother's education, background, and her weight and height were taken into account, but that there was little difference between boys and girls.

Professor Alan Emond, the paper's main author explains:

'The reason the early group caught up more quickly may be because those infants had obvious feeding difficulties and were more readily identified at the eight-week check, resulting in early treatment leading to a more rapid recovery. However, as Children of the 90s is an observational study, there is limited information available about which infants received nutritional supplements or medical treatments.

'Those children who showed slow weight gain later in infancy took longer to recover, because of the longer period of slow growth and because their parents were smaller and lighter too.

'Overall parents can be re-assured that well babies showing slow weight gain in the first year do eventually recover to within the normal range, but at 13 years tend to be lighter and smaller than many of their peers.'

The findings highlight the importance of monitoring a baby's weight and height gain during the first few weeks and months, but not creating anxiety with parents of slow-growing babies who are well, as most of these babies will catch up to within the national average over time.

The message to health professionals is that, unless children require intervention due to ill health, their calorie intake should not be increased as this may predispose them to obesity later in life. Feeding habits in the second six months of life determine a child's future weight gain, so consuming too many calories in infancy can lead to weight problems later in life.


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Contact: Dara O'Hare
dara.ohare@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-331-0077
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

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