Newswise – Babies who gain weight rapidly during their very first weekof life may be more likely to be overweight as young adults.And while there?s no question that being overweight is badfor your health, being underweight can lead to healthproblems, too, especially as you get older. Researcherssuspect that infants who are not breastfed, or who aren’tbreastfed long enough, may be prone to develop Type IIdiabetes. A new study suggests that the first week of lifemay be a critical period for setting lifelong patterns ofbody weight.

Researchers studied 653 adults, ranging in age from 20 to32, who had been measured as newborns while participating inan infant formula study. It was discovered that those whohad gained weight more rapidly during their first week weresignificantly more likely to be overweight decades later.

“Our main finding was that rapid weight gain during thefirst week of life in this population of healthy,European-American, formula-fed infants was associated withbeing overweight two to three decades later,” sayspediatrician Nicolas Stettler. “It suggests that there maybe a critical period in that first week during which thebody?s physiology may be programmed to develop chronicdisease throughout life?If these results are confirmed byother studies, they may lead to interventions in newborns tohelp prevent long-term development of obesity.”

Unlike adult fat, most baby fat is a sign of good health.Babies are expected to double their birth weight during thefirst 4 to 6 months of life. It’s only when they gain it tooquickly that there may be a problem.

According to the Mayo Clinic, being too thin can lead to aweak immune system, osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength,trouble regulating body temperature and even increased riskof death. Also, rapid, unexplained weight loss is a classicsign of undiagnosed cancer.

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