Obesity at 9 months of age could predict later health problems

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A new analysis suggests babies who are obese at 9 months could have later health problems.

The new study showed infants with early obesity were among the heaviest by age 2, putting them at risk for later health issues that include heart disease, diabetes and emotional problems.

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 to find 32% of children were either obese or overweight and at risk by 9 months of age.

Data for the study included height, weight, socioeconomic and demographics of 8,900 9-month-old babies and 7,500 toddlers age 2. By the time 9 month olds reached age 2, 34% were found to be either obese or teetering on the edge of obesity, defined as being in the 95th percentile for body-mass index in their age group.

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Even though the 9 month olds were found to be at risk for obesity, no one suggests putting infants on a diet. The researchers wanted to understand what factors contribute to obesity in hopes of finding ways to intervene with parents and health advocates.

The researchers found Hispanics and low socioeconomic status children were at highest risk for obesity, while females and Asian/Pacific Islanders had the lowest risk.

There was no uniform risk for found in subgroups of infants, leading the authors to conclude obesity at age 9 months raises the chances of health problems and obesity later in life, "suggesting that health policy might focus on those children at greatest risk."

American Journal of Health Promotion