Does obesity begin in the first year of life?

Pilot study – Does obesity begin in the first year of life?

From Clinical Pediatrics

Recent research shows that obesity might begin much earlier in life than previously believed creating a lifelong weight struggle and numerous comorbidities that reduce life span. Once it appears, obesity tends to remain throughout a life course and systematic reviews reveal that rapid growth in infancy can be associated with a greater risk of later-life obesity.  This study conducted and graphed a longitudinal analysis of body mass index means based on the age postbirth. Data was gathered from 7 well-child visits during the first year of life for infants who remained healthy and uninjured from birth to 5 years age. Study aims were to (a) describe growth patterns in the first year of life and (b) determine if the first-year BMI values were associated with 5-year BMI values. The paper concludes that growth patterns in the first year of life can signify a pattern that indicates early development of obesity. The earlier in life we can identify obesity, then the earlier we can guide individualized interventions in the first year  after birth while precursors of later health are still forming.

 

Abstract

Aim. To determine if growth patterns in healthy infants can identify associations with obesity at age 5 years. Method. Body mass index growth patterns from birth to 1 year were described for cohorts of children who were classified at 5 years as normal weight (n = 61), overweight (n = 47), obese (n = 41), and morbidly obese (n = 72). A longitudinal analysis of body mass index means based on the age postbirth was conducted and graphed. Results. Distinctions in growth patterns were evident before 1 year postbirth. Children who were normal weight at 5 years demonstrated a growth pattern in the first year that differed from children who were overweight, obese, or morbidly obese at 5 years. Conclusions. Obesity growth patterns were seen in infancy and are clinically important because identification of infants who do not fit a normal weight pattern can occur and thus guide individualized interventions in the first year postbirth while precursors of later health are still forming.

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Article details
Ludington-Hoe, S., Gittner, L., & Haller, H. (2013). A Pilot Study: Does Obesity Begin in the First Year of Life? Clinical Pediatrics DOI: 10.1177/0009922813482750

     
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