There are research studies popping up all the time talking about how overweight and obese women give birth to children who are more likely to suffer from the same conditions and other weight problems and illnesses later in life – but now research is saying that extra weight does not happen right away. According to a report published in the Journal of Pediatrics, obese mothers have infants with slower growth rates compared to mothers in a normal weight range.

The Story Behind the Story
The slower rate of growth is the main theme of the report, but there is a story behind the story that is much more important for overweight and obese mothers. Infants showed slower growth during the first three months of life. Eventually the infants caught up with peers and started gaining weight – eventually surpassing most of their peers and gaining more weight. 

The story in the background is the pediatrician’s reaction to slow growth. If an infant is measured below average for height or weight during the first three months, the pediatrician may suspect a lack of sufficient nutrition. The mother feeds the baby more because that is what the pediatrician suggests and the baby starts gaining weight. By three months, everything is normal, but the increased caloric intake does not stop and the child moves from normal weight to overweight slowly. 

While researchers suspect fatty acids and/or inflammation as two of the possible causes of the initially slow growth rate – there does not appear to be any developmental delay (physically or mentally). While researchers are not ready to suggest changes in how infant growth rates are measured for the first three months of life, this information could be something parents take note of before heading off to those pediatrician appointments. If YOU KNOW you are feeding your infant enough formula on a regular basis and your pediatrician suggests feeding the baby more you do have the right to request another opinion or discuss that suggestion with the pediatrician in a more detailed conversation. There are many potential causes of the rising obesity epidemic and one may just be the advice of your pediatrician.  

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