Infants as young as two months old already exhibit growth patterns that can predict the child's weight by age 5, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and Tennessee State University.
"Almost from birth, we quickly saw this growth pattern emerge in our curves and growth charts for weight over height," said Susan Ludington, the study's lead investigator and the Carl W. and Margaret David Walter Professor of Pediatric Nursing at Case Western Reserve.
Analyzing well-child records, normal-weight babies with a body-mass index (BMI) in the 17 percentile were found to have plateaued at about two months and rarely deviated over the next five years, she said. Overweight or obese babies crossed the 17 percentile many months later (about age 14 months) and continued an upward climb when BMI growth patterns were monitored.
The findings were reported in Clinical Pediatrics. Ludington collaborated with Lisaann Gittner, assistant professor of public service at Tennessee State University, and Harold Haller, director of Case Western Reserve's Center for Statistical Consulting.
The researchers found that, by age 5, normal-weight children developed differently from birth than those considered overweight, obese or severely obese.
For this study, 221 children were selected from 4,000 records of healthy children under the care of a health maintenance organization. Each had weight, height and medical records from nine well check-ups over the first five years of their lives.
None had a hospital or emergency room visit, medical procedure or other special medical condition, or were on medications that might skew results. No other study of early weight changes has used a sample of only healthy infants and children.
"We didn't want anything to interfere with regular eating," Ludington said.
She said the study also differed from others because res
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Case Western Reserve University