A new study by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has shown that obesity can be detected in infants as young as 6 months.
By analysing the electronic medical records of babies seen for routine ‘well-child’ visits to the UTMB pediatric clinic, Dr. David McCormick, senior author of the study, and colleagues found that about 16 per cent of 6-month-olds fit the study’s criterion for obesity — a weight-for-length ratio that put them in the top 5 per cent of all babies in their age group.
Further analysis of the records indicated that obese 2-year-olds were much more likely to have been obese at 6 months than 2-year-olds who were not obese.
The obese babies’ medical records rarely showed that clinicians had addressed the issue at either 6-month or 24-month visits, despite a well-established connection between obesity at a young age and obesity later in life, which is linked to such serious health problems as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
The researchers hope that early detection and intervention can prevent a lifetime of weight problems and related health issues.
The study has been published online in the Journal of Pediatrics .