A study out of Harvard University claims that babies who gain weight quickly during their first months of life are more likely to become obese later in life.

The lead author, Dr. Elsie Taveras said the study should be used to raise awareness about potential risks but is not a reason to put babies on a diet.

Okay, that seems fair.

Other doctors point out that babies often grow in spurts.  Dr. Michelle Lample (director of Emory University’s Center for the Study of Human Health) is afraid the guide could be used to feed infants less and could prompt feeding patterns that could lead to obesity later.

Lample also pointed out that while many infants crossed at least two key points on the growth charts, only 12% were obese at age 5 and slightly more at age 10.  The National average for obese preschoolers is 10% and about 19% by age 11.  Showing that this “predictor” is not very good at predicting.

What scares me is that with fat-phobia being so common place in the healthcare professions, anything that would lead to labeling an infant as (horrors) fat (or heaven forbid, possibly becoming fat) puts that infant at the mercy of other people’s fat phobia at the time when brain, muscle, and bone development are dependent on good nutrition.

Dr. Joanna Lewis (a pediatrician in Park Ridge, Illinois) seems to me to be a prime example.  She supports the idea that infancy is not too young to start thinking about obesity.  She emphasized that rapid growth in infancy doesn’t mean babies are DOOMED (yes, doomed) to become obese.  “It’s not a life sentence.”  Oh boy.




Scary enough for you?

Now look at the story coming out of Appleton, Wisconsin where parents are facing jail time for starving their infant daughter because the father was afraid she’d become fat.


In fairness, the healthcare professionals and social workers urged this couple to feed their child more – and the parents continued to starve their child to the point where she had no subcutaneous fat.

Well, new parents don’t always know what they are doing, right?  Except Christopher Sultze is 35 and his wife Mary is 36 and they have three other children.  Mary’s attorney isn’t sure there was any criminal activity or just misguided parenting intentions.


Obviously, this is an extreme case, but it shows what can happen when people become convinced that being fat is the worst thing that can happen.  And people become convinced when that is the message they are constantly getting from healthcare professionals, the media and the government.

“Consequences are unpitying.”  George Eliot



4 thoughts on “FEAR OF FAT BABIES

  1. This makes my blood boil so badly that I am in danger of developing health issues which have never been caused by ‘fat’! I wanted to strangle these parents when I first heard about it…supposedly intelligent, educated parents nearly starving a child to death because her father thinks being fat is a fate worse than death. If she survives to adulthood, what they have done will have an impact on both her emotional & physical health & will likely also increase her chances of becoming fat. My older son is pretty fatphobic & told me that he didn’t want his daughter to become ‘obese’ ( & I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much I HATE, HATE, HATE that damned word, which is made-up & the result of bad logic & belief in myths about why people are fat), he is borderline orthorexic, but he & his wife have not carried things to these extremes, though I do suspect that my granddaughter may well grow up with some food & body image issues. She also has more than a few fat relatives, including her grandmother, so she may well also be heavier someday than ‘daddy’ thinks is appropriate. I only see her once or twice per year, so it is heard to have much influence, but I am helping to raise my other granddaughter, who is being raised with more sanity & balance.

    It is bad enough that they hate us fat adults so badly & want to wipe us off the face of the earth, but what the culture, media, medical profession, & weight loss industry are perpetrating against babies & children is unforgivable. And this whole conviction our culture has that fat is the worst thing a person can be is nothing less than total insanity, intensified of course by a huge profit motive. I want to take my granddaughters & find a desert island, but I am afraid that is not possible.

    • I know what you mean. Whenever I see a fat child, I want to tell him/her that they are great just as they are and don’t let anyone tell them different. Just go out and enjoy life. I was looking at a magnet on our fridge this morning of a baby girl who is totally joyful and I was thinking that’s how I want to feel about life in general and my body specifically.

  2. Your blog post is so spot on, tanteterri. Yes my comments are kind of belated. This is taking a way bad idea, obesity prevention in children, way too far. An article in 1991 said that children automatically self-regulate their eating and parental intervention inevitably leads to later problems. I think Dr. Lample is correct, any baby that is food restricted will become obese later on. I have heard anecdotes pertaining to this from friends. It may lead to eating disorders and emotional problems too. Adults need to take cues from babies, not the other way around. I share Patsy’s indignation and I also experience the same reaction to every child who might be judged as overweight or obese. I wish I could go up to them, hug them and tell them they are fine just the way they are. It makes me so sad. Our society is truly going berserk and they are taking it out on the kids.

  3. I have been going over the study for about 2 hours or so and I figured out why the results. It is due to a preponderance of low birthweight infants making up the group that traversed 2 or more major weight-for-length percentiles, i.e. the rapid weight increase group at risk for childhood obesity. Such babies will go to the physician early on and will show a large early weight gain which is the intent of treatment. Low birthweigh children are known to have have a 2.5 fold higher chance of becoming obese when they are school age. Viola!

    These rascals are using artifactual data to prove relationship that really does not exist, weight gain due to overfeeding infants. I will no doubt make a big stink about this on my website. One more oppressive lie that is sure to create the exact situation that they say they want to avert. What a con game, satanic if I might say so, create a whole generation of obese children and adults to then torture.

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