Saturday, October 15, 2005

Study: Fat Babies Likely Become Obese Adults

A new study published in the October 14 issue of the British Medical Journal claims that big babies as well as those children who grow faster than normal during their first 24 months are more likely to become obese while growing up and on into adulthood.

Researchers from the U.K., led by University of Southampton's Dr. Janis Baird, analyzed 24 different studies that all looked at the correlation between weight gain in infantcy and adult obesity. They concluded in their research that larger infants and ones that grow very quickly are at a greater risk of becoming obese later in life.

Dr. Baird states there are various reasons why babies grow as fast as they do, but she believes her research tells her "these factors are also important in influencing the risk of later obesity.”

The study researchers believe that more research will be needed to determine if there are ways to intervene in this process without causing harm to the child and that would be acceptable to parents.

Obesity has become such a worldwide epidemic that the sense of urgency among nations to deal with this issue is elevated. Viable options for slowing the rate of weight gain in babies that will not be rejected by parents will need to be convincingly presented as a way to break the continually growing trend towards obesity.

I can appreciate the findings of this study, but I have a fundamental problem with it for the same reasons why I was concerned about this recent study. It is my opinion that a study like this just gives people an excuse for why they are overweight or obese.

"Oh well, I guess since I was such a fat baby I'm just supposed to be big my entire life," they will say. "It was just meant to be my lot in life to live with being obese for the rest of my life."

Yikes! If I had that attitude about my 410 pounds back in January 2004, then I'd probably weigh closer to 500 pounds today. Thankfully, I found livin' la vida low-carb and did something about my weight before it was too late.

Is there any wonder we have an obesity problem that keeps getting worse and worse?! Anyone who weighed more than 8 pounds at birth or who was a large toddler will rationalize their weight problem away because of this study. That is such a poor reason for failing to do anything about your weight, but people will use it anyway.

When I was born, I weighed 10 3/4 pounds, a very big boy indeed! My momma said she was so glad to get me out of her. LOL! I bet she was! While I was an overweight child and grew into a morbidly obese man, I think that had more to do with the very bad nutritional choices and lack of physical activity in my family than it did with how much I weighed at birth.

My brother was 7 pounds and my sister was 6 1/4 pounds when they were born and both of them are obese today. In fact, my brother weighs very close to 500 pounds and he was considered a "normal" sized baby. If the researchers concluded that big babies make fat adults, then wouldn't it stand to reason that "normal" sized babies would be "normal" sized adults and skinny babies would become skinny adults? If so, then what happened to my siblings? Are they just an anamoly? Were two out of every three Americans who are currently overweight or obese big at birth? Not likely.

On the other end of the spectrum, my wife weighed a mere 2 pounds at birth as a 6-month premature baby. Was she destined to be diminutive in her weight for life? While she only weighed about 95 pounds on our wedding day ten years ago, she weighs about 45 percent more than that now (don't tell her I revealed her weight, she'd kill me! LOL!).

Dr. Baird probably thought she and her researchers were providing information to the public that would help them understand the complexity of an issue like obesity. But I am afraid her research omits the most influential factors in weight gain: poor food choices and lack of exercise. Without intervention to correct these problems, the weight of a child at birth and in the first couple of years of life are irrelevant.

You can e-mail Dr. Janis Baird about her research at


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