A new checklist can help physicians predict a newborn's likelihood of becoming obese at birth and recommend obesity-prevention methods to parents, according to an article in PLoS One.
The checklist—which predicts obesity with 71% to 85% accuracy—is based on six factors:
1. The baby's birth weight;
2. His or her parents' body-mass indexes;
3. The mother's weight gain during pregnancy;
4. The professional category of the baby's mother;
5. Whether the mother smoked during pregnancy; and
6. The number of members in the baby's household.
Physicians found that parents' BMIs were the largest driver of whether a newborn would become obese. They also found that certain newborns were more or less likely to become obese as adults.
Most likely to become obese: Newborns born weighing about nine pounds, with obese parents, to parents who work as skilled laborers, into a household of three, and to mothers who smoked during pregnancy had a 77% probability of becoming obese.
Least likely to become obese: Newborns born into a household of five or more who weighed about 6.5 pounds at birth, had normal-weight parents, and to mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy had less than a 0.2% chance of becoming obese (Healy, "Booster Shots," Los Angeles Times, 11/29).
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