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Heavy Babies More Likely to Develop Heart Disease

Update Date: May 30, 2013 03:17 PM EDT

Babies always seem to want food, and with their little adorable faces, it would be hard to limit nourishment. Although all babies need proper nutrition, the type of formula or baby foods that parents choose to give can play a vital role in the babies' development. According to a new study conducted by a research team from the University of Sydney in Australia, too much weight gain during infancy could lead to an increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease later on in life.

For the study, the researchers followed 395 infants that were born in two different maternity hospitals located in Sydney. The infants were all born healthy and did not have type I diabetes. The researchers followed the children until they reached eight-years-old. They discovered that for infants who gained the most weight during infancy, which was considered to be from birth to 18 months, were at a higher risk of developing health issue at age eight and possibly later on in life. The heavier infants had larger waist circumferences, higher blood pressure, and more arterial wall thickening when they reached eight-years-old. The researchers calculated that for every one kilogram (roughly 2.2 pounds) of weight gain during infancy, there was a 2.1-3.3 kilogram (4.6-7.2 pounds) increase in body weight by the age of eight.

"The first 18 months of life are an important period for our growth and development," said lead author, Dr. Michael Skilton, reported by Medical Xpress. "Excessive weight gain over this period may have consequences for later body size, however, its relationship to arterial wall thickening and risk factors in later childhood had not been well documented, until now. "

The researchers also found that breast-feeding for at least six months lowered the chances of infancy weight gain. They also stated that a longer gestation period correlated to reducing infancy weight gain as well.

The findings were published in Pediatrics.

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