We all know that as a whole, Americans are getting fatter. According to a 2004 report from the Centers for Disease Control, the average Body Mass Index (BMI) among American adults increased from 25 in 1960 to 28 in 2002. Let me translate that into numbers you can relate to: In 2002, women aged 20-29 were found to weigh an average of almost 30 pounds more than women of the same age did back in 1960.
So, it’s official. We are all getting fat. And according to a new study from Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, we are taking our babies along for the ride. A review of data from more than 74,000 births in the U.S. reveals that the body fat composition of newborn babies, known as the ponderal index, increased significantly from 1990 to 2005.
While there are few things cuter than a chubby little baby, Felix Okah, professor of pediatrics and director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, says this trend is cause for concern.
“Adult diseases like obesity may have their foundation during the fetal period, so efforts to safeguard the health of the fetus could translate to future adult health for these newborns.”
He urges medical professionals and mothers both to pay more attention to BMI numbers before and during pregnancy. He says that not only will this help mom avoid possible complications, it might also help prevent her child from becoming a future obesity statistic.