Early causes of child obesity and implications for prevention

Acta Paediatr. 2007 Apr;96(454):2-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00162.x.


Child obesity is becoming a serious public health concern, and major research effort is being devoted both to understand its aetiology and to improve the effectiveness of prevention strategies. Early growth patterns, both prenatally and postnatally, are emerging as important markers of later obesity risk, with rapid neonatal weight gain a clear risk factor for later obesity and metabolic syndrome. Thus, in two distinct senses child obesity is a growing problem. The paper summarises current evidence on growth pattern and obesity, relating it to infant feeding practice and appetite regulation, and highlights the areas in which public health interventions are feasible. Of the conclusions drawn, one involves a futuristic solution to child obesity where neonates are given an infusion of the hormone leptin to reset their appetite regulation.

MeSH terms

  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Appetite Regulation / physiology
  • Breast Feeding
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Satiety Response
  • Weight Gain / physiology