Hmmmm... they tested babies in Massachucettes... I wonder what the results would be if they tested in say... Alabama... Georgia... Texas...
[url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0608100179aug10,1,6181024.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true]More babies packing on the ounces
By Judith Graham
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
Published August 10, 2006
Add babies to the growing ranks of overweight Americans.
Harvard Medical School researchers reported Wednesday that the percentage of infants who are significantly overweight rose 73.5 percent over two decades.
Other research suggests that babies who gain excessive weight face a higher risk of being overweight in later childhood and adulthood.
Several trends are behind the increase. More newborns are large for their gestational age--how long a baby spends in the womb before birth--than a quarter-century ago. The reasons include more overweight moms and more moms who develop diabetes while pregnant. In addition, more babies are putting on pounds rapidly in the first few months of life.
"Even our very youngest children are gaining excess weight, not just adults and adolescents," said Dr. Matthew Gillman, senior author and associate professor of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard.
"Our obesity prevention efforts need to start at the earliest stages of human development," he said.
That doesn't mean parents should put babies with telltale rolls of fat on diets, doctors said. Infants' health depends on good nutrition, and many babies will thin out over time. But it does imply moms and dads should know how much food they're giving infants and talk to their pediatricians about nutritional concerns.
The Harvard study, published in the July issue of the journal Obesity, looked at extremely chubby infants less than 6 months old. Their weight adjusted for height placed them at or above the 95th percentile on standard growth charts, a cut-off point the researchers set for being overweight.
A 6-month-old boy just under 27 inches long--an average length--would weigh about 17.5 pounds at the 50th percentile and more than 21 pounds at the 95th percentile, according to the growth charts.
The research examined data for more than 120,000 Massachusetts children up to age 6, but its most notable results have to do with infants. Previous research has documented a sharp rise in the percentage of overweight preschool children without separating out results for babies.
The data showed that in 1980, just 3.4 percent of infants less than 6 months old were overweight. By 2001, it was 5.9 percent, and researchers think the trend has continued since.
The findings did not surprise several Chicago-area pediatricians. "Across the board, we're seeing heavier infants, especially in our Hispanic and African-American families," said Dr. Sam Grief, a family physician at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center.
"Absolutely, we are seeing more of these larger infants," agreed Dr. Michael Lotke, a pediatrician at Chicago's Sinai Health System and medical director of its pediatric weight management program.
Of course, some youngsters at the top of the growth charts after birth will shed extra baby weight as they begin to crawl and walk. Some will be of average weight in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
But a relatively new body of research has shown a connection between early weight gain and extra pounds later in life.
"If you look at weight gain early in life--during the first year, the first four months, even the first week--and then look at weight status in childhood and adulthood, you find a strong association," said Dr. Nicolas Stettler, assistant professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Animal studies underscore the finding, showing that overfed rats are more likely to become obese and diabetic.
"It could be that if you're overfed early in life, that may affect the brain's neurochemistry during a key development period and reprogram a person to eat to excess," Stettler said. Another hypothesis is that insulin secretion and metabolism could be altered in this early period.
A behavioral change also might be involved: Humans and other animals may learn to override the feeling of being satiated and continue eating when food is offered even if they're not really hungry, Stettler said. Or, being overweight may have a strong genetic component that first expresses itself in infancy and remains a risk factor throughout life