When to worry about baby obesity?

Obesity in babies occurs when their actual weight significantly exceeds what they should be for their age. This condition can alter the normal development of the child.

Last update: 08 March, 2022

Baby obesity is a topic that has only begun to be addressed in recent years. In fact, the traditional thing was to think that the more chubby the little one was, the better his state of health.

Usually, baby obesity only occurs after 6 months of birth, as long as it is fed with breast milk or formula. When the diet is extended and not taken care of properly, there is a risk.

baby’s diet

The most appropriate thing is to consult with the pediatrician so that he points out the guidelines to follow in terms of feeding. The main cause of baby obesity is dietary errors. Sometimes he is given more food than he requires, sweets are allowed, or certain products are introduced ahead of time.

Although it is not frequent, baby obesity can also appear even if they only drink breast milk. It happens when the number of shots is increased more than necessary.

Although genetics also plays a very important role in obesity, the truth is that diet and lifestyle in general are much more decisive. In the case of babies, when they become more active with crawling, they are able to lose excess weight gained.

The chubby babies

The first thing to clarify is that a chubby baby is not always an obese baby. The relationship between weight and height should be taken into account. On average, boys weigh 7 pounds, 6 ounces at birth. The girls, 7 pounds and 2 ounces.

They are expected to double their weight in the next 6 months. At 12 months they will have tripled it. Everyone needs a high-fat diet to promote growth and development. Much of that fat is stored under the skin.

This is because they need quick bursts of energy for their brain and body to grow normally. That’s why they have rolls on his body, the bulging cheeks and the plump hands. This aspect has nothing to do with obesity in the baby.

It is normal for them to gain 5 to 7 ounces each week. Also that they grow in height between half and an inch each month. However, nothing is a fixed rule and everyone has their own rhythm.

A breastfed baby should not be obese in the first 6 months of life.

When to worry about baby obesity?

It is clear that a chubby baby can be healthy. Now, when should we worry about the obesity of the baby?

There is a normal weight range according to the child’s age and it is as follows:

  • Newborn: between 7.5 and 7.8 lbs.
  • At two and a half months: between 11.5 and 12.6 lbs.
  • At five and a half months: between 15.4 and 16.8 lbs.
  • At eight and a half months: between 18.3 and 20.1 pounds.
  • At 12 and a half months: between 21.4 and 23.1 pounds.

If you stay within that range, no matter what you look like, your weight is normal. It is usual that at the beginning of life it is more stuffed and that it loses weight when it begins to crawl.

Risk factor’s

There are some factors that increase the probability of obesity in the baby:

  • Genetics: the height and weight of the parents tend to coincide with that of the child.
  • Health during pregnancy: Overweight or obese mothers, as well as those who smoke or have gestational diabetes, are at increased risk of having obese babies.
  • Planned cesarean section: several 2019 studies indicated that children born by planned cesarean section are more likely to be overweight.
  • Breast-feeding: Babies who are fed only breast milk have a lower risk of being overweight.
  • Formula Usage: As a complement to the above, a study verified that there is more obesity in the baby when children are fed with formula.
  • Diet: There is more possibility of obesity in the baby if the little one eats fast foods, processed foods and sugary drinks.

Effects of obesity on the baby

Baby obesity can affect their physical and mental development. It is possible that this generates delays in the evolution of their movement, since they tend to take longer to sit up, crawl and walk.

A report from Harvard University indicates that children with high weight, during the first 2 years of life, have a higher risk of having health problems during the rest of their childhood. This includes disorders of the musculoskeletal system, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and even cancer.

On the other hand, baby obesity is a risk factor for obesity in adulthood, as corroborated by another study. An obese person will be more likely to develop serious health problems later on.

Obese children usually carry this problem from their first year of life.

What to do to prevent baby obesity?

The first measure to prevent obesity in the baby is feeding him only breast milk for the first 6 months of life. After that age, the regimen can be gradually supplemented.

When new foods are introduced, it is best to offer the breast first. It is important not to force him to eat if he is not hungry. In order for him to acquire good habits, it is advisable to give him products low in sugar and salt until he is 2 years old.

If you are thirsty, the indicated thing is the water. It is not recommended to give fruits and vegetables in juice, but rather raw or cooked.

It is also very important to encourage play in children. That they move for at least 30 minutes a day.

If there is any concern about the child’s weight, it should be discussed with the pediatrician so that he can establish appropriate guidelines.

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