Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Health Risks Of Rapid Weight Gain In First Three Months Of Life

I've seen some of my friends' babies, born at low birth weight, around 2,5 - 2,7 kg. These babies seem so fragile, with bony hands, bony legs, even can literally see all the ribs. Actually, low birth weight is not a good thing. This can mean small brains and small organs, which is not a good start to life.

Research from Netherlands suggests that regardless of birth weight, how rapidly a baby gains weight in the first three months is associated with the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes risk later on in early adulthood.

In the past, people have thought that the circumstances in the womb which led to low birth weight, were what predisposed these children to heart disease later in life.

This new study though, has found that young adults with fat tummies, low levels of good cholesterol (HDL), less sensitivity to insulin (important to combat diabetes), were significantly more likely to have had rapid weight gain during the first 3 months of their lives. Unfortunately, the records didn't show which children were breastfed or formula-fed.

The study also found that these young adults who were born with a low birth weight are quite short as adults.

So, for parents, do check your baby's weight gain against the weight gain chart to make sure there is no significant increase in weight gain. Also, try to breastfeed your baby longer, for at least 1 year if possible, as recommended by AAP.

For reference:

Leunissen RWJ et al. Timing and Tempo of First-Year Rapid Growth in Relation to Cardiovascular and Metabolic Risk Profile in Early Adulthood. JAMA 2009;301(21):2234-2242

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