Greater early-infancy gains in weight and length have been linked to genetic markers for adult obesity risk in a new study.
The proportion of overweight and obese children is increasing across the globe. Worldwide, 22 million children under five years old are considered by the World Health Organization to be overweight.
Ken Ong of Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and colleagues suggest that weight gain and growth even in the first few weeks after birth may be the beginning of a pathway of greater adult obesity risk.
However, this research does not provide advice for parents on how to reduce their children's obesity risk.
It does suggest that "failure to thrive" in the first six weeks of life is not simply due to a lack of provision of food by the baby's caregiver but that genetic factors also contribute to early weight gain and growth.
The research has been published this week in PLoS Medicine.