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May 1976

The Origins of Obesity

Author Affiliations

Center for Human Growth and Development and Nutrition Unit School of Public Health University of Michigan 1111 E Catherine St Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(5):465-467. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120060011002

Not too long ago for many of us to remember, a fat baby was a "good" baby, and usually vice versa. Quadrupling birth weight in less than a year was hailed as a pediatric accomplishment, and fatness in childhood was viewed as certainly beneficial (and soon to be lost). Now, however, fatness in infancy is often looked on with both distaste and alarm, and the chubby infant of the ethical advertisements is out of fashion. The fat child is now considered parent to the obese adult, already on the way to becoming diabetic, and probably destined for premature atherosclerotic demise.

It is true that obese infants and obese children do have higher lipid levels than those who are lean, given sufficiently large samples and direct measures of fatness.1 However, it is by no means sure that most fat infants become obese children, or that juvenile obesity inevitably leads to

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