What if a simple calculation could predict your child's risk of obesity? A group of scientists from institutions in Europe and the U.S. say they have found a way. Looking at data from babies and kids in Finland, the U.S., and Italy, they came up with an online calculator that can estimate a newborn baby's chances of growing up to be overweight or obese. The formula analyzes the baby's birth weight, the body mass index of its parents, the number of people in the household, the mother's professional status and whether she smoked during pregnancy.
If parents know their baby is at risk, they can take preventive steps to guard against obesity, such as breastfeeding and limiting television. Plus, the study suggests, "families of newborns at risk could be enrolled in more intensive schedules of growth monitoring and nutritional counseling than those offered to general population ... recent evidence suggests that some preventive strategies based on educating mothers could be useful to limit excessive infant weight gain ... Such strategies do not imply a direct food restriction, but rather a limitation of "passive" (not hunger-driven) infant over-eating."
Photo: Catherine Holecko