Babies who put on weight very fast in the first months of their lives are more likely to grow into overweight adults, a new study has revealed.
According to lead author Dr Ken Ong, from Cambridge, obese or overweight kids have an increased risk of suffering from various diseases in later stages of life, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Bristol also found that girls with quick weight gain early in infancy are more prone to have their periods at a younger age, which is also linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
"Childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health issues we face today, as we know that the more overweight a child is, the more likely they are to be overweight as an adult," the Telegraph quoted Ong as saying.
Dr Panagiota Mitrou, science programme manager for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), added: "In fact, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing we can do for cancer prevention."
The study, funded by the WCRF, was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.