If Daughter is Heavy as a Baby, Never Escape Being Heavy?

We have heard that if our daughter is heavy as a baby, she will never escape being heavy. Is this true?

This is true in many children. Currently, a large ongoing study from the United Kingdom, called the Early Bird Study, has shown that between 75% and 90% of the excess weight in children is acquired before they start school—that is, before age 5, or so. If they are heavy at this young age, the data show that they are likely to be heavy at age 9 and even later.

This may be partly due to some earlier suggestions that babies born with low birth weights were at greater risk of becoming diabetic. Parents were thus encouraged to feed their babies with the aim of increasing the child’s weight to prevent diabetes. Work now suggests that this is not the case.

More recent studies indicate that excess weight produces insulin resistance, which could be a cause or precursor of diabetes mellitus. This is called the “accelerator hypothesis.” Many researchers are now suggesting that a major effort be put into making sure that children are not heavy when they enter school.

Sandy’s mother:

Sandy is 4 years old and she’s adorable but a bit pudgy. She’s 3-feet 2-inches and weighs 55 pounds. The doctor said that she’s overweight but not obese but is afraid that she may become obese. He said she’s already over the 95th percentile.

She’s adorable and is a wonderful kid, though she cries and can throw a tantrum if we don’t give her the food she wants. Her brother Tommy, who’s 7, is not overweight, and we never had eating issues with him.

We’ve tried to do the same for Sandy as we did for Tommy, but she just won’t cooperate. So we’ve sort of given in and do let her eat candy and cookies more than we should. We do give her fruit and vegetables, but she won’t eat them unless we cut up the fruit and add sugar or syrup.

The doctor wants us to be more careful about what we feed her, and I guess we’ll have to do that but the tantrums are a real problem.