BOSTON – Infants above the 85th percentile for body mass index at 6 months are up to nine times more likely to be severely obese by the age of 6, according to a Cincinnati Children’s Hospital investigation.
The finding means that pediatricians should routinely plot and follow body mass index (BMI) from an early age, just like height, weight, and head circumference, said investigator Dr. Allison Smego, an endocrinology fellow.
She and her colleagues reviewed the charts from birth to age 6 of 783 lean children and 480 children above the 99th BMI percentile. BMI started differentiating when children were as young as 4 months old, about a year and half before the onset of clinical obesity. The predictive value of the 85th percentile threshold held at 6, 12, and 18 months. The finding was subsequently validated in over 2,600 children.
In an interview at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, Dr. Smego explained how to use the findings.