Recent data analysis from Ohio StateUniversity found that babies born toobese mothers were 3 times as likelyto become overweight themselves,compared with children born to mothersof normal weight. Researchershave yet to determine whether there isa biological reason for this statistic, orwhether it is a result of environmentalfactors after the baby is born; however,their analysis concluded that both reasonsseem to contribute to excessweight in early childhood. Their analysis,which used data from the NationalLongitudinal Survey of Youth's Child-Mother file, included more than 3000children who were weighed at ages 3,5, and 7. Children were consideredoverweight if their body mass index fellat or above the 95th percentile ongrowth charts. Researchers determinedthat race, ethnicity, maternalsmoking, and maternal prepregnancyweight were all factors in childhoodweight gain, with the most influentialfactors being maternal weight andsmoking. If the mother was overweightor obese, the child was 2 or 3 times aslikely to be overweight by age 7 thanwere children born to mothers of anormal weight. Children whose motherssmoked had their risk of beingoverweight by age 7 increased by 74%,compared with those whose mothersdid not smoke. They also found thatblack and Hispanic children were morelikely than white children to be overweight.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.