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Is age 2 the tipping point for obesity?

February 11, 2010 | 12:22 pm

Bottle A growing body of scientific research suggests that babies can, indeed, be too fat.

In a study published Thursday, researchers looked at 111 children whose body mass index exceeded 85% of the general population. Among those children who had gained weight in infancy at a high rate, more than half were overweight at or before age 2 and 90% before age 5.

The authors say their study shows that a "tipping point" in determining obesity occurs very early in life -- as early as when infants are first learning how much to eat and what to eat.

Lead author John Harrington of Eastern Virginia Medical School says doctors and parents need to start thinking about a child's proper weight and rate of weight gain as early as 3 months of age. The study is published this month in the journal Clinical Pediatrics.

That doesn't mean skinny babies are healthy, of course. Babies are supposed to be plump. But judging whether a chubby baby is too chubby is probably best left to doctors who can objectively examine the rate of a baby's weight gain.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha