A study published in this month's journal Clinical Pediatrics indicates that the "tipping point" in obesity often occurs before a child reaches age 2 and sometimes as early as three months.
Lead researcher Dr. John Harrington, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters and an assistant professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, found that participants in the study had started gaining weight in infancy at an average rate of .08 excess BMI units per month, or just under 1 BMI point per year. On average, this progression toward obesity began when the children were three months old. More than 50 percent of the children became overweight at or before they turned 2, while 90 percent did before reaching age 5.
What's to be done about it?
Dr. Harrington believes pediatricians will now have to act before medical complications arise. He added, "Getting parents and children to change habits that have already taken hold is a monumental challenge fraught with roadblocks and disappointments. This study indicates that we may need to discuss inappropriate weight gain early in infancy to affect meaningful changes in the current trend of obesity."
What's going on here? This goes well beyond the need for increased physical activity and smaller portion sizes.