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Can child obesity be predicted at birth? New formula provides clues

CHILDOBESITY113012_optBY PAM LOBLEY
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
NOW THAT'S FUNNY

Obesity is gaining on us, so to speak, and now researchers say that it can be predicted at birth. Time.com reports that certain data are excellent forecasters about who will become obese and who will not.

It is believed that the first five years of life are critical in developing habits that discourage obesity, so establishing a prevention routine early is key. For this reason, looking at some factors in the family can be helpful.

For instance, if the father has a permanent chocolate mustache, the child is probably at higher risk.

The formula looks at five non-genetic predictors that have been linked to obesity in other studies. They are: birth weight of the baby, body mass index of the parents, number of people in the family, whether the mother works outside the home, and whether the mother smoked during pregnancy.

Another factor is whether the mother believes “food is love."

The study tracked 4,000 participants who were born in 1986. The calculator accurately predicted obesity rates in the studies done in Finland, the United States and Italy.

If you want to try to predict obesity in your own baby, you can try it with the obesity risk calculator. You can also check some other factors:

  • Are there empty Dorito sacks and McDonald’s wrappers in the baby’s crib?
  • We’re the baby’s first words Mountain Dew?
  • Does she have a muffin top hanging over her diaper?

Phillipe Froguel, lead author of the study, envisions using this predictor as a way to alert parents and help educate them to keep their children healthy. In addition, it can be a tool for social workers and health care professionals to help guide the parents. He was very enthusiastic about the possibilities of the uses of the risk calculator all over the world, saying, “The equation works everywhere, but it cannot be the same equation for each country. We have to create predictions using different elements of an environment.”

At least that’s what it sounded like he said. It was hard to understand him because his mouth was full.

Considering that obesity rates are soaring, any weapon in the arsenal against unhealthy weight gain is valuable. In the end, you just need to get off your arsenal and get moving.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Check out her blog: Better Living Through Chaos! Follow her on Twitter @plobley.

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