PREDICTING KIDS’ OBESITY
RESEARCHERS have been able to predict with 75 per cent accuracy if a baby is at risk of becoming obese by the time they are nine years old and say that new technology could eventually be used to help prevent childhood obesity.
The i-PATHWAY model – which is hoped will become a computer program for health professionals – uses information about a baby at 12 months old to predict childhood obesity at age eight to nine years.
University of Queensland researcher and dietitian Dr Oliver Canfell said that the program would be able to identify babies at high risk of childhood obesity and help parents to implement family-based preventive actions, such as healthier eating, sleep routines and lifestyle changes.
“Risk factors used are the baby’s weight change in the first year, mother’s prepregnancy height and weight, father’s height and weight, baby’s sleep pattern in the first year, premature birth, if the mother smoked during pregnancy and if the baby is female,” he said.
“Identifying babies at high risk means that clinicians and families can be proactive together to implement preventive actions that are family-based.”
The researchers used data from more than 2000 children, who were followed from birth to the age of nine,
Carina Heights mum Eliza Botsford said that she encouraged healthy eating with her 15-month-old son Tommy by incorporating fruits and vegetables into his daily diet. “It’s not always the easiest thing to do with a picky eater,” she said.
“But I try my best.”