Scientists in London have created a simple-to-use online calculator that new parents can use to estimate their baby's risk of obesity.
The formula is based on factors such as the baby's birth weight, both parents' body mass index, and whether or not the mother smoked during pregnancy. Other factors include the mother's professional status (higher status equals less risk) and size of the household (larger family size also equals less risk).
Researchers from Imperial College London programmed the online calculator using data from 4,000 Finnish children.
"All the data we use are well-known risk factors for childhood obesity, but this is the first time they have been used together to predict, from the time of birth, the likelihood of a child becoming obese," said study researcher Philippe Froguel, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.
The authors published a study describing the formula in the online journal PLOS ONE on November 28.
A healthy lifestyle, such as healthful eating and regular exercise, can reduce obesity risks, states the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Access the calculator: http://files-good.ibl.fr/childhood-obesity
Access the study: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0049919
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