Infant obesity: are we ready to make this diagnosis?

J Pediatr. 2010 Jul;157(1):15-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.01.028. Epub 2010 Mar 24.


Objectives: To assess the prevalence, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment of infant obesity (weight-for-length) in a pediatric practice.

Study design: This was a retrospective nested case-control design. The investigators reviewed and abstracted data from the records of the mothers (while pregnant) and their offspring.

Results: The prevalence of infant obesity was 16%. Children who were obese at age 24 months were highly likely to have been obese at age 6 months (odds ratio=13.3, 95% CI=4.50-39.53). Mothers of obese infants gained more weight during pregnancy (+6.9 kg, P<.05) than mothers of healthy weight infants. Obese infants were more likely to have been large for gestational age (Odds ratio=2.81, 95% CI=1.27-6.22). However, only 14% and 23% of obese infants aged 6 and 24 months were diagnosed with obesity.

Conclusion: Infant obesity was common in our practice. Infant obesity strongly predicted obesity at age 24 months. Risk factors included excessive intrapartum weight gain or being born large for gestational age. Clinicians diagnosed obesity in only a minority of children. Primary care providers need to diagnose obesity in infants and work to develop effective interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers*
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Weight Gain*