Early Weight Gain & Obesity

Early Weight Gain and Obesity

While the dangers of being overweight in early life – much emphasised in the days of the fat cell size/fat cell number controversy – have been downgraded more recently, a new US study reports the rate of weight gain in the first 4 months of life is correlated with being overweight at 7 years. The study used records of some 19,000 infants examined at 7 years of age who had records from the first few months of life. For each additional pound (454g) gained up to 4 months of age, the likelihood of being overweight at 7 years was raised by 30%. This was regardless of their birthweight or weight at 12 months.

Source: Stettler N, et al. Pediatrics 2002

[Commentary by J. Birkbeck] Since those early months are the time when feeding is largely either breastmilk or formula, and it is established that formula feeding tends to result in greater weight gain, this study is important. Perhaps it is time to reduce the energy density of infant formula.

Source: Nutrition news 26 June 2002

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