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How to Stop Obesity, Starting Before Birth

Researchers find links to problems later from prenatal to 3 years old
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2010 1:30 PM CST

(Newser) – A kid's path to fat camp may begin even before conception, and, as one doctor tells the Los Angeles Times, “during pregnancy and the first two years of life, mothers and their infants are seen by physicians more often than any other time. It's kind of a golden opportunity” to stop obesity before it starts. What you can do during:

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  • Pregnancy: The mother's weight at conception can affect birthweight, which in turn has been linked to obesity later; women who develop diabetes also increase risks. Pregnant women should also adhere to weight-gain guidelines.
  • Infancy: Babies who grow too fast their first year are more prone to obesity—the brain might be conditioned to want more food, or the body's response to insulin could be affected.
  • Early childhood: A recent study shows overweight kids as young as 3 have elevated levels of a marker tied to heart disease. Luckily, it's easier to augment behavior sooner than later. "Almost all of the risk factors we found we can change," says the doctor.

(Read more obesity epidemic stories.)

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