An online tool to predict the odds of a baby becoming obese has been developed
The formula takes into account the birth weight of the baby, the body mass index, or BMI, of the parents and the total number of people in the home.
The professional profile of the mother and if she smoked while pregnant are also factored into the equation.
Scientists want to help families with the prediction formula by identifying newborns who have a higher risk of obesity.
Obesity in children is growing at an alarming rate in developed countries and it is the number one cause of type 2 diabetes and diseases of the heart and circulatory system.
In England, about 17% of boys and 15% of girls between the ages of two and 15 are technically obese, statistics from the NHS indicates.
The online journal Public Library of Sciences ONE reported on the formula, which was developed using data from research begun in Finland in 1986 that tracked the development of 4,000 children.
Researchers discovered that genetic information was not a reliable indicator of the obesity risk factor, while other more easily obtained information about the baby and the family could predict children who risked becoming obese.
Additional studies in the US and Italy confirmed that the formula was accurate.
Copyright Press Association 2012