In research published this week in PLoS Medicine, Ken Ong of Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and colleagues show an association between greater early-infancy gains in weight and length and genetic markers for adult obesity risk.
The proportion of overweight and obese children is increasing across the globe. Worldwide, 22 million children under five years old are considered by the World Health Organization to be overweight. The authors suggest that weight gain and growth even in the first few weeks after birth may be the beginning of a pathway of greater adult obesity risk. However, this research does not provide advice for parents on how to reduce their children's obesity risk. It does suggest that ''failure to thrive'' in the first six weeks of life is not simply due to a lack of provision of food by the baby's caregiver but that genetic factors also contribute to early weight gain and growth.
Funding: The UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interests: George Davey Smith is on the Editorial Board of PLoS Medicine (http://www.plos.org/about/board.php).
Citation: Elks CE, Loos RJF, Sharp SJ, Langenberg C, Ring SM, et al. (2010) Genetic Markers of Adult Obesity Risk Are Associated with Greater Early Infancy Weight Gain and Growth. PLoS Med 7(5): e1000284. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000284
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