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December 6, 2010

The Infancy of Obesity Prevention

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Public Health and Pediatrics and the Center for Obesity Research and Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(12):1167-1169. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.218

Pediatricians are being encouraged to begin obesity prevention efforts during their patients' infancy,1 yet they must still rely more on common sense than scientific evidence to guide their actions. Although the childhood obesity epidemic has been recognized for a decade, the field of obesity prevention only now has reached infancy. Pediatricians wishing to begin obesity prevention efforts during their patients' infancy face 2 general questions: (1) On which infants should I intervene? and (2) How, if at all, should I intervene? Articles by Gungor et al2 and Ciampa et al3 in this issue of the Archives address the first and second questions, respectively. The answers provided are succinct: we cannot accurately predict which infants will become obese. Nearly 70% of at-risk infants were not overweight or obese at 6 to 8 years of age,2 so it is difficult to target specific infants for prevention efforts. Whether some or all infants are targeted for intervention, we have no strong evidence as to which interventions prevent or reduce obesity.

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