Abnormal Birthweights in Babies Appear at Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Disease
According to a study out of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University that was published in the Journal of Pediatrics, babies born with either high or low birthweights appear to be at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes by the time they become adolescents. These individuals that are born at the extremes of the weight spectrum appear to gain dangerous fat around major organs in the abdomen that significantly increases the risk for those two diseases.
The researchers looked at 575 children who are now between the ages of 14-18 and during the study were divided into three birthweight groups. The issue is not just that these children born at abnormal weights have an increased risk for these diseases, they also have more problems than their regular birthweight peers such as insulin resistance and inflammation. The researchers had already accounted for other risk factors such as lower activity levels and socioeconomic status as well as higher body mass index, which actually did not vary much among all three birthweight groups. Overall, 11 percent were overweight and 16 percent were obese.
The researchers noticed another issue. “The five-pound baby, regardless of whether he grows up to be obese, normal weight or thin is going to have more visceral adiposity than a similar child with a normal birthweight,” said the main researcher. He went on to mention that a heavy baby could exercise and eat healthy and reduce their risk.
The message to mothers is – as always – don’t smoke and do breastfeed. Apart from other effects of smoking, the researcher noted that maternal smoking is also the number one cause of low-birthweight babies and the breast milk may be protective. He also said that doctors should consider an adult’s birthweight when assessing cardiovascular risk.
The study said that normal birthweight is considered between about 5.5 pounds and 8.4 pounds. So overall, consider birthweight when dealing with cardiovascular risk no matter the age.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.