New research, from the University of Sydney, found excessive weight gain in children under two can lead to cardiovascular risk factors in teenage years.
These risk factors included elevated cholesterol, being overweight, an excess of abdominal fat. These risk factors are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.
Currently, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia.
For the study, researchers tracked the body mass index (BMI) of 410 children from birth to 14 years old. They found that a high BMI in children under two was related to having higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, and more abdominal fat in adolescence.
The findings of the study may someday help researchers to define at-risk youth. Once scientists define what children are at risk, interventions can be developed and put in place to help reduce the numbers of at-risk youth.
In the above video Dr. Dyan Hes, a childhood obesity specialist, discusses ways to help keep babies a healthy weight.
Sources: Journal of Pediatrics