Babies on obesity path? New sign may offer answer

CHICAGO (AP) -- By the time your baby is 2 years old, you may be able to tell if he or she is likely to become obese later on.

Researchers say babies that have passed two key milestones on doctors' growth charts by the age of 2 face double the risk of being obese at age 5. They're also more likely to be obese at age 10.

And infants whose chart numbers climbed that much during their first 6 months faced the greatest risks.

The study's lead author, Elsie Taveras, is an obesity researcher at Harvard Medical School. She says the research bolsters the idea that "bigger is not better" in infants.

But one skeptic is worried that people will start putting infants on diets. Dr. Michelle Lampl of Emory University says that's a bad idea that could backfire in the long run. She says babies often grow in spurts.

She and another expert say more research is needed to confirm whether the study's recommendation is really a useful way to flag infants for obesity. They wrote an editorial to accompany the study in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. (a1024)

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