For years, we have all been taught to believe (whether it was a scientifically-derived thought or otherwise) that if you were a fat baby, chances are you would grow up to be an obese adult. Not surprisingly – or surprisingly if you are one of those people that was successfully conditioned to believe those rumors – baby fat has nothing to do with an individual’s weight configuration later in life.
A new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics last month reveals that regardless of a shifting trend toward larger babies, adult obesity levels are unchanged based on that fact. Conducted at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, data from an 82-year period was used to follow the birth weights and beyond of babies born in the southwestern region of the state of Ohio. Right around the 1970s babies began to get progressively larger, registering at approximately a pound heavier than those born in previous years. The newer babies’ lengths were also recorded at about a half-inch longer.
But here is where it gets interesting: at one year of age, all babies averaged out to be the same weight – regardless of whether they were of the older days’ variety with lower birth weights or the newer generations when the typical weight at birth was significantly higher. What this shows is that somehow during that first year of life, nature balances things out and the infants end up weighing in at a healthy weight either way.
One thing that has changed from back then is mothers’ health outlook. In terms of size, 18% of mothers in decades past when babies were recorded as being born at lower weights had a body mass index indicating obesity. More recently, the average maternal obesity rate has been about 48%. This is the main reason that there has been talk in the medical field that amounts to “obese mother = obese baby = obese adult” and the new research performed to refute that speculation concluded that these factors cannot be linked or correlated.
To prove earlier reports wrong, researchers tracked 620 babies’ weights for a three-year period of time, beginning from birth. The only real variance in data was the birth weights – proven related to maternal health. But as soon as the babies grew and as they reached toddler stage, it was apparent that it all evened out at the end of the day.
What’s the takeaway point with this research? The basic fact is this: bigger babies do not automatically result in the outcome of obese adults, like some people may have you believe. Researcher and one of the authors of the study, Dr. Ellen Demerath says, “You don’t need infant weight gain to end up with an obesity problem.” In fact, a Harvard Medical School professor who warns against predicting anyone’s overall growth at an early age because it can hardly be accurate corroborates this.
What, then, could be the reason for an obesity epidemic in America – and the rest of the world? The answer is a simple one. Lack of education is the biggest contributor to obesity. Education is paramount in order for people to be able to ward off early signs and indications of living adulthood as obese individuals. We need to see to it that proper nutrition counseling is made mandatory for each and every school-going child and his or her parent(s). You can’t blame fast food chains for your gaining weight when it is you that drives up and orders the 800-calorie monstrosity that will take years to burn off, if it ever gets burned off. It’s not anyone else’s fault if someone does not go to the gym and work out regularly, despite warnings from their doctors. The truth is that it all boils down to self-control, self-esteem and self-reliance. And none of these things are remotely possible without the basic education needed to support these important building blocks of health, something I try to teach daily during my practice as an expert of Social Media Medicine. What better way than to spread this message virally? Virtually viral, that is.
I welcome and invite schools across the nation to make it a part of everyday education in our children’s curriculums, to teach the basics of eating healthy while exercising and taking care of the mind — and at the same time, teach the accountability for it all. We really can obliterate obesity from our future – if we try hard enough.
Dr. Veronica Anderson is an MD, Functional Medicine practitioner, Homeopath. and Medical Intuitive. As a national speaker and designer of the Functional Fix and Rejuvenation Journey programs, she helps people who feel like their doctors have failed them. She advocates science-based natural, holistic, and complementary treatments to address the root cause of disease. Dr. Veronica is a highly-sought guest on national television and syndicated radio and hosts her own radio show, Wellness for the REAL World, on FOX Sports 920 AM “the Jersey” on Mondays at 7:00 pm ET.
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