Washington: If you have never considered having your baby’s BMI tested, this news could change your mind. A new study has found that it is possible to identify those most at risk of becoming dangerously overweight.
Severe obesity can be predicted using a simple body mass index (BMI) measurement as early as 6 months of age, according to a new study. The study is believed to be the first to show that weight gain during infancy differs in those who eventually develop obesity.
“BMI at 6, 12 or 18 months of age above the 85th percentile on the growth chart can accurately predict children at risk for early childhood obesity,” says lead author Allison Smego. “These children have a high lifetime risk for persistent obesity and metabolic disease and should be monitored closely at a very young age.”
The researchers studied several groups of children of lean and obese children under the age of 6, including a group of severely obese children referred for specialized care to Cincinnati Children’s.
“It’s not currently recommended to measure BMI in children under the age of 2, but we say it should be because we now know it predicts obesity risk later,” says Dr. Smego. “Pediatricians can identify high-risk infants with BMI above the 85th percentile and focus additional counseling and education regarding healthy lifestyles toward the families of these children. Our hope in using this tool is that we can prevent obesity in early childhood.”
The study is presented at the national Endocrine Society meeting in Boston. (ANI)