Being born big may mean a higher lifetime risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more
Andi Anshari/AP Photo
We all come into this world with sealed orders, said 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Although the great Dane lived at a time when much of science was still gauzy and life events were often ascribed to fate, the notion seems to hold true today. A quick scan of newborn babies snoozing in a maternity ward offers little hint of what their futures hold.
But medical researchers are now unsealing these orders by seizing on a simple clue — a newborn’s weight. Having established that being too small at birth carries health risks down the road, researchers are also finding that high birthweight comes with baggage.
A stream of evidence has upended the long-held assumption that a big baby is a healthy baby. Newborns pushing 9 pounds face an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even neurological problems over a lifetime. They are more likely to run afoul of these conditions than are babies born in the “sweet spot