Simple Test at Birth Can Predict if Your Child Is Likely to Grow Up Fat

This Just In 11

baby toesNo one wants their child to grow up to be obese, and I doubt there are many people who think their children will be fat when they dream of their futures. Yet here we are with a nation full of dangerously overweight people. So a new tool that can help parents predict their child's risk for obesity from the minute they're born may be the wakeup call many need.

It's a simple formula that takes into account just six things -- the baby's birth weight, the mother and father's BMI's, whether the mother smoked, the number of people living in the home, the mother's professional status, and the baby's birth weight. Once the baby's born, parents can plug the information in an online calculator and get the predicted possibility that their child will be obese. Just like that.

The formula has been tested in Finland, Italy, and the United States, and researchers believe it's quite accurate. Interestingly enough, according to WebMD, the single most predictive factor was the parents' BMI at the time of the child's birth. That certainly is a pretty strong reason to get in shape before you get pregnant, right? 

Of course, there are plenty of factors this doesn't account for that may come into play as well, but scientists found "a very strong association" between obesity in childhood and during their teens and these six factors. So knowing that your children are at risk could really be that hammer that makes you take action when it comes to trying to help your children manage their weight BEFORE it becomes an issue. 

This news could be difficult for some parents to hear; and knowing there's a risk doesn't make doing something about it easy. Nor does it mean those who aren't at risk can just forget about healthy habits. Even though my children aren't at risk based on this formula, I still struggle daily with getting them to eat right and exercise and not eat every speck of sugar in sight. But it's such an important battle to keep fighting -- especially when you know you're in an uphill battle.

What do you think of this test? If you knew your child was at risk, would you do things differently?


Image via caterina/Flickr

pregnancy health, tests


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Austin Keenan

Well duh,  the parents BMI reflects their eating/excercise habits and lifestyle which is how they're going to raise the kid.  

Felip... FelipesMom

Weird. I wonder why number of people in the household is correlated to childhood obesity. I can see a connection for the rest, but not for that one.

GlowW... GlowWorm889

That's an interesting question, FelipesMom. Maybe it has something to do with the budget dedicated to food, or convenience? Larger families in the study tended to have less time to cook healthy meals or less money to buy healthy food? Obviously not all big families are like that (mine certainly wasn't and I have quite a few siblings!), but maybe that was a factor? That's the only thing I can think of.

Kayte Jean

How could this be accurate when a BMI is not accurate for a single person? It's meant for groups of people on a much larger scale.

Kayte Jean

Crystal Farmer

I personally think it has to do with how you raise your kids.  I am obese, and because I know better I teach my kids better.  My boys have never been overweight at all, and have healthy eating habits.  People can learn new ways to their kids, so I don't this this is entirely accurate!

Bluel... Blueliner

This is funny... BMI is such BS. My husband's BMI is overweight but his body fat % is under 10%, he works out and has a ton of muscle. I also have a lot more muscle that most women so while my BMI is in the normal/healthy range it also doesn't actually accurately reflect my body fat.

Anyway, I don't need the test to tell me that my kids will be fine, we at healthy, no fast food, work out, play sports, and DH and I are in great shape.

Juss Emmie

really? Instead of spending all this money on a test to predict if our kids are going to be fat why not spend the money and deicate time to teaching parents the importance of eating healthy and exercise. kids are obese these days because there is the internet and a lot more video gaming systems. Go outside and play with your kids. I know I take my sone out for at least an hour each day. 

t0vanal t0vanal

If the parents are fat then the kid is way more likely to be fat because he/she will not learn proper eating habits.  So I wouldn't call this study groundbreaking.  

nonmember avatar AMM

Both of my parents were very tall and thin, but I grew up obese and was from a very early age.

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