The key to childhood obesity may lie in a mother's weight when she gave birth and her smoking habits, according to a new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
Researchers analyzed height and weight measurements of nearly 2,000 children, collected every year from the age of 5 months to 8 years. Children with a high (and rising) body mass index (BMI) were discernable from the rest by about the age of 2 1/2 years old. By the time of middle childhood, over half of these children were obese.
Two factors were found to increase the likelihood a child had high-rising
BMI: mothers who were overweight at the time they gave birth and moms who smoked during pregnancy. These factors were found to be more significant than the child's actual birth weight.
"I hope these findings will help improve the social and medical services we offer to mothers and infants," said lead author Laura Pryor, a Ph.D.
candidate at the University of Montreal.