‘Good eaters’ as babies, obese as adults?

Having a baby who is a good eater may not be such a good thing.

Researchers at University College and King’s College in London suspect babies who have big appetites may be setting themselves up for obesity as adults, according to an NPR story.

The researchers looked at fraternal same-sex twins to separate baby’s eating habits from parental influences. In the study, twins who were enthusiastic about food and took longer to get full had, by 15 months old, gained 2 pounds more than the less enthusiastic sibling, according to the story.

The mean weight at that age was 22 pounds.

Of the 1,600 twin pairs in the study, 228 had one sibling who responded more enthusiastically to food or who ate for longer at 3 months of age. The “good eater” weighed more that his or her sibling at that age, and the trend accelerated over the next year, according to researchers.

Identifying early markers of future obesity risk can help create preventive interventions, the researchers say. While several studies have shown that a heartier appetite in infancy is a risk factor for more rapid weight gain, no investigations have been able to rule out familial confounding, the researchers said.

Using twins, researchers said, provided a test for the hypothesis.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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