The Checkup: Researchers Develop Newborn-Obesity Predictor

The best part? It's nothing fancy—just a six-step checklist.

• Let’s pretend you just had a baby: You hear his first cry, you count his fingers and toes, then you find out your little bundle of joy is very likely—with 77 percent probability—to be obese or overweight when he’s older. Talk about a kill-joy, no? This is exactly what a new checklist, published in the journal PLoS One last week, aims to determine. Using just six data inputs—including the parents’ BMI, the baby’s birth weight, the mother’s weight gain during pregnancy, and the number of people living in the baby’s home, among others—doctors can determine, with 71 to 85 percent accuracy, the baby’s prospects of becoming obese. According to the Los Angeles Times:

A child’s prospects of obesity were “largely driven” by his or her parents’ BMI, researchers found: If one or both were obese, the baby’s odds of joining them in that status increased steadily as a function of how obese, and whether one or both were obese. But other factors—mom’s avoidance of tobacco while pregnant, a larger number of household members, a mother’s status as a professional rather than an unskilled worker—could powerfully check the bad start that came from having an obese parent (or two).

• Love fried food but hate all the fat? A new cooking method called “radiant frying,” developed by researchers are Purdue University, cuts the fat and calories of fried food by up to 50 percent, without sacrificing one iota of flavor. More here.

• For all the college kids out there, new research found that the best way to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15 is by talking to your doctor about your unhealthy lifestyle choices and outlining health goals. A brief doctor-student intervention resulted in more time spent exercising, researchers found. More here.