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