Babies who gain weight rapidly during their very first week of life may be more likely to be overweight as young adults, according to a new study. The research suggests that the first week may be a critical period for setting lifelong patterns of body weight.
Researchers from The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Iowa studied 653 adults, ranging in age from 20 to 32. The subjects, all of whom were white, had been measured as newborns while participating in infant formula studies in Iowa. Those who had gained weight more rapidly during their first week were significantly more likely to be overweight decades later.
The research appears in the April 19 issue of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association. "Our main finding was that rapid weight gain during the first week of life in this population of healthy, European-American, formula-fed infants was associated with being overweight two to three decades later," said lead author Nicolas Stettler, M.D., M.S.C.E., a pediatric nutrition specialist at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. "It suggests that there may be a critical period in that first week during which the bodys physiology may be programmed to develop chronic disease throughout life."
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