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Childhood Obesity Starts in the Womb: Researchers


Earlier this year, doctors at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia determined that an infant's body mass index at two months is a good indicator whether he or she will be obese by age 2. Now, in a new study by Boston Children’s Hospital, childhood obesity can be predicted before birth.

“Although genes are not modifiable, the weight of the mother before and during pregnancy is,” says obesity specialist David Ludwig (to the Times, via NY Mag). “Excessive weight gain during pregnancy predicts not just the baby’s birth weight but also the likelihood of obesity in middle childhood."

While there's no question obesity is genetic, finding its origins is getting confusing. This and another study from 2004 links obesity to the mother's pregnancy. Another study shows it stems directly from the father. It sounds like the Blame Game, Obesity Edition.

Yet, there is one way mothers can reduce the risk of obesity: Breast-feeding. Ludwig notes that a baby will be exposed to different tastes through the mother’s milk, and will more likely enjoy a wide array of nutritious food.

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