Study Predicts Obesity First Two Months of Life - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Study Predicts Obesity First Two Months of Life

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by Marcus Washington

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee ranks in the top 5 for childhood obesity, now a new study says it can predict if a child will become obese or overweight within the first two weeks of life.

It's not uncommon to hear someone say an infant is not fat, but they are just carrying, "baby fat."

Dr. Lisa Gittner said, "Yes there is such a thing as a fat baby and there is a fat baby growth pattern."

During a seven a year student Dr. Gittner, assistant professor of public administration and public policy at Tennessee State University, discovered a growth pattern in children who are overweight and obese.

"This growth pattern happens early, before six months of life. They're growing in a way that's going to make them fat," said Gittner.

She added that obesity can be predicted as early as two months into infancy.

Dr. Gittner along with researchers at Case Western Reserve University looked at babies' body-mass index (BMI) with a 75-85 percent confidence rating in the findings.

Dr. Gittner said she gained interest in the topic after noticing young adults come into the clinic with diseases you typically see in older people: hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes.

She thought she could trace it back to the toddler years, but she never expected to find those signs within the first year of a child's life."

Gittner said these findings have little to do with ethnicity or where the child lives. It's more to do with a way of life.

"Really the only thing parents can do, especially for infants because you can't send them to weight watchers, but you can help them sleep better and feed them breast milk or formula, not solids," said Gittner.

Feeding infants as young as 2 to 4 months food like rice cereal, also causes obesity.

Before these findings are used by pediatricians, Dr. Gittner said they would need to complete an extensive study that would include at least 15,000 children. 

Currently, they are working to get funding from the National Institutes of Health. 

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