Everyone loves a roly-poly baby. Still, there is such a thing as an overweight infant, and obese babies -- even those as young as 9 months -- are predisposed to being obese later in life, researchers say in Friday's issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Childhood obesity is a growing public health problem in the United States. It has been linked to psychological problems, asthma, cardiovascular troubles and a greater chance of developing diabetes.
Hoping to better understand the factors associated with being obese at a very early age -- and possibly help parents and health advocates stave off its ill effects -- lead author Brian G. Moss of Wayne State University and William H. Yeaton of the University of Michigan analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, a nationally representative sample of American children born in 2001.
The data included height, weight and demographic characteristics of 8,900 9-month-old babies and 7,500 2-year-old toddlers. Obese children were defined as those who exceeded the 95th percentile for body-mass index (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and those between the 85th and 95th percentile were considered "at risk."