New research suggests that baby girls who put on weight too quickly in their first few months are more likely to be overweight as they grow up.
According to a study funded by the World Cancer Research Fund, babies who piled on the pounds from birth to nine months were heavier than their peers at the age of ten.
The research, which has been printed in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, took data from 2,715 girls from birth to two months, two to nine months and nine to 19 months.
It found that not only did the girls have a higher body mass index ten years on but they were also more likely to start their periods at an earlier age than other children.
Speaking to The Times newspaper Ken Ong, a researcher from Cambridge University, said: “The suggestion that weight gain in the first nine months of a girl’s life increases the risk of being overweight and starting her periods early is interesting because in the UK both childhood obesity and the number of girls who start their periods early are rising.
He added: “If we are serious about tackling childhood obesity, we need to understand why children become overweight in the first place and that is why this study is important.”