Obesity Risk at Birth

By analyzing data from 4,000 children born in Finland in 1986, researchers at Harvard University and Imperial College in London created a formula accurately predicts the likelihood of a baby developing obesity during childhood. The formula looks at only five factors: mother’s BMI, father’s BMI, baby’s birthweight, mother’s working status, and mother’s smoking status.

According to the analysis published in PLOS ONE, that’s all it takes to accurately determine the likelihood of childhood obesity at birth. This finding highlights the fact that some people, due to factors over which they have no control, are born with high susceptibility to obesity. In the same way, others born with a slightly different combination of factors, will never struggle with their weight.

Sadly, much money and effort is thrown away on obesity policies grounded in an assumption that obesity is primarily a condition of choice, while a deeper understanding of the biological basis for obesity is neglected.

Click here to read the Boston Globe article, here to use the online calculator used for calculating likelihood of obesity, and here to read the study in PLOS ONE.

The Wikipedia image was originally posted to Flickr by Sabrina Campagna.