By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Imagine being able to predict if your newborn will be obese in a few years? Now you can.
Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years, and about one in three kids is overweight or obese. Now by answering six simple questions you may be able to predict if it will happen to your child.
Traci Glazner’s 5-month-old daughter Faye has been long and lean since birth.
“When Faye was born she was 19 and a half inches and weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces,” said Traci.
Experts say birth weight is one factor that can predict whether a baby becomes obese later in life.
Now researchers in England have developed a simple formula that can determine which newborns are most at risk.
It also includes the body mass index of the parents, the number of people in the household, the mother’s professional status, and whether she smoked during pregnancy.
“That calculation would have an 80 percent chance of being right so it really does a good job. It is an important tool,” said Dr. Jonathan Fanaroff, a pediatrician.
More than a third of children and teens in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Doctors say once a child gains weight, it’s difficult for them to lose it, so prevention from the earliest age is key.
“Maybe this calculator will get some families who might otherwise not take a healthy lifestyle seriously to take it more seriously,” said Dr. Fanaroff.
Traci already does something very important that can help prevent child obesity.
“I nurse Faye 100%. She hasn’t started any solid food yet, so all she’s had is breast milk,” said Traci.
The researchers did their original study on 4,000 children from Finland. But they say the formula also proved accurate in studies in the United States.
For more information visit: files-good.ibl.fr/childhood-obesity.