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Researchers at Wayne State University and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have found that one third of 9 month olds are already either obese, overweight or at risk of obesity.  This percentage increases to 34 percent by the time children reach the age of two.  The study showed a higher incidence than a similar study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention which estimated 12 percent of children between the ages of two and five were obese.
The University of Michigan study measured the weight of 8,900 infants who were born in 2001 and measured the weight of 7,500 of them four times until they were two years old.   Infant obesity is based on a weight-to-length measurement.  Of the babies monitored, 15 percent of 9 month olds were overweight, and 17 percent were obese.  Of the 2 year olds, 14 percent were overweight and 21 percent were obese.
 The diet and weight of the mother while she is pregnant plays a role in infant obesity.  In a 2007 Harvard study, the more weight the mother-to-be puts on during her pregnancy, the more likely her child will be obese by three years old.  Foods eaten by the mother during her pregnancy may have an impact on her child’s metabolism and appetite later in life.
 The study also found that the baby’s diet played a large role in obesity rates.  Babies were at risk even before they transitioned to a solid food diet.  Parents can reduce this risk of obesity by exclusively breast feeding their baby and not in conjunction with bottle feeding.  Fiber, such as eating apples – not drinking apple juice also keeps obesity at bay.  Additionally, parents should not introduce sugary snacks such as cereal into their baby’s diets early on.
 There are also disparity between ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses.  Boys, Hispanics and children with a low socioeconomic status were at a greater risk of obesity while girls and Asian/Pacific Islanders were less likely to be obese at these ages.  Children who started off heavy, were more likely to stay that way and these statistics will have a huge impact on this young generation.  As a result of more children at younger ages acquiring diseases that are usually associated with old age such as diabetes and heart disease, this generation has a lower life expectancy than their parents for the first time in two centuries. 

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