Although parents are well aware of their baby's length and weight, their little one's body mass index usually isn't even a thought.
A person's BMI is a numerical score for body fat calculated through height and weight that normally only applies to adults. However, thanks to a recent study, some doctors now believe that a baby's BMI is a valuable indictor for whether or not they will be an overweight kid and are hoping that this tool will help prevent childhood obesity.
Typically, a child's BMI isn't calculated until they are at least 2 years old because infants grow at different rates. But researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital used this test to identify which little ones were likely to be severely obese by the time they were just 6 years old. The scientists, who were led by Dr. Allison Smego, compared a child's BMI at 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months and found that those who were in the top 15 percent at just 6 months were the ones who struggled with their weight by elementary school.
"These children have a high lifetime risk for persistent obesity and metabolic disease and should be monitored closely at a very young age," said Smego.
As startling as it may seem to consider your child's body mass index before he or she even starts crawling, using this tool to understand which babies are at risk of obesity can allow both parents and doctors to intervene during those early years.