Call us free on 0800 862 0373

Sign in to view your quotes
Email address:
Password or PIN:

Forgotten your password? Reset it here.

Simple calculation at birth predicts chance of childhood obesity

Published on 29/11/2012

Researchers have created a simple formula which can predict a baby’s chance of being obese from as early as birth. Scientists hope it will help identify babies at risk, since obesity prevention is better than cure.

Obesity in children is rising, with 17% of boys and 15% of girls in England thought to be obese. A recent study published in the Lancet Journal warned that almost half of British men and 4 in 10 women could be clinically obese within 20 years, and the rising figure is estimated to cost the NHS an extra £2 billion a year.

Now, researchers from Imperial College London have created a formula that can be used to identify babies at risk of obesity later in life. Professor Philippe Froguel led the study said that prevention was the best strategy because once obese, a child can find it difficult to lose weight.

The team looked at 4,032 Finnish children born in 1986 and data from two further studies of 1,503 Italian children and 1,032 US children.

Writing in the journal PLoS One, they looked at several known risk factors for obesity to produce the formula. It is the first time these risks have been combined together in this way. Predictors in the calculation include:

  • Child’s birth weight
  • The body mass index of the parents
  • How many people are in the household
  • The professional status of the mother
  • Whether the mother smoked during pregnancy

It has been thought that genetic factors have an impact on adult weight problems. However, only around one in 10 cases of obesity are as the result of a genetic mutation.

This test takes very little time, it doesn't require any lab tests and it doesn't cost anything, so the researchers are hopeful it could be used effectively by the NHS in the future. The calculator is available at the following link:

Professor Philippe Froguel from Imperial College London, who led the study, said: "The equation is based on data everyone can obtain from a new-born, and we found it can predict around 80% of obese children.

"Unfortunately, public prevention campaigns have been rather ineffective at preventing obesity in school-age children. Teaching parents about the dangers of overfeeding and bad nutritional habits at a young age would be much more effective.

"The message is simple. All at-risk children should be identified, monitored and given good advice, but this costs money."

Traditionally, weight loss surgery has not been covered by private health insurance. However, from January 2013 PruHealth members on a group scheme could have access to private gastric bypasses.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Health
Simple calculation at birth predicts chance of childhood obesityResearchers have created a simple formula which can predict a baby’s chance of being obese from as early as birth. Scientists hope it     tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

No.1 health insurance broker as rated by customers

Very helpful and polite and always try their best to obtain the best quotes. Have been using them for the last 3 years and will continue to use them in the future.

Review centre member

A great service from the initial call, to finalising the agreement. I would highly recommend to my family and friends.

Review centre member

Proactive, efficient, and offered me insurance I need. I would say half price I would end up paying if I did it by myself. Many thanks.

Review centre member

Excellent service. Explained everything in detail and really helped to find the right insurance best suited to my needs - which wasn't necessarily the most expensive. 

Review centre member

Good value and the advisor was very helpful and recommended the best policy for my grandson. I would definitely use this service again and recommend to others.

Review centre member

We were contacted in good time to make a knowledgable choice. We were given plenty of options with lots of information to enable us to make the right choice.

Review centre member

The service I received was excellent, the staff member was very efficient and knowledgable. She went out of her way to get the best policy for me.

Review centre member

Great service. I really appreciated the help provided by Active Quote to arrange health insurance. The agent was very informative and proactive. Many thanks!

Review centre member

I received excellent care and attention from the first phone call till the last. Friendly, efficient and patient.

Review centre member

Staff are very helpful, friendly and polite. They call back when they say they will and keep you up to date with progress. Pleasure to deal with.

Review centre member
This site is operated by Insurance Broker ActiveQuote Ltd registered in England & Wales company number 6765845.
Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm reference number 501109 as detailed on the Financial Services Register. Please read our Key Facts document.
For information about your rights as a consumer visit Citizens Advice.

Our insurance comparison service is free and easy for you to use, but you are responsible for making sure all your information is entered correctly, and for choosing your insurer.

This site uses cookies in order to work correctly - these are not harmful and do not contain personal information. By using this site you consent to this. I understand  Tell me more

please wait ...