Eight aspects of early life put children at risk of obesity

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 12 December 2012.
Tagged: children, guides, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, kids, obesity, tips

Eight aspects of early life put children at risk of obesity

Early life environment can determine later risk of obesity, according to a UK study of over 8,000 children called the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

In the entire group, four factors were independently associated with obesity at age 7:

1. Increasing birth weight
2. Parental obesity (one or both parents)
3. More than 8 hours spent watching television per week at age 3 years
4. Short sleep duration (less than 10.5 hours per night at age 3)

A further four factors were significant for a sub-group of the children:

5. Size in early life
6. Rapid weight gain in the first year
7. Rapid catch-up growth between birth and two years
8. Early development of body fatness in the pre-school years, before the age at which body fat should be increasing (ie at age 5/6 years)

So the message is clear: have your baby weighed and measured regularly by your early childhood sister or local doctor especially if yours is a family where overweight is common. Limit time spend in front of the television and watch toddlers who don't sleep as much as they should.

Reference: Reilly JR, Armstrong J, Dorosty AR, et al. Early life risk factors for obesity in childhood: cohort study. Br Med J,doi:10.1136/bmj.38470.670903.E0 (published 20 May 2005)

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby has the answers! She is an accredited nutritionist, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Nutrition for Life 2020 Edition is a fresh new update on all the things you've read about or heard in the last year. Think insects, collagen, vegan eating, Keto dieting, vitamin B12, fast food and cafe culture.  It has plenty of colour pictures and is easy to dip in and out of. Grab your copy NOW!