How to identify the 'tipping point' between baby fat and obesity risk

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Baby Weight... Or Too Big?

The world loves babies, happy ones, giggly ones, chubby ones, you name it! As hard as it is, babies grow up and while they grow it's important to make sure they stay healthy.

When babies become children some shed their adorable baby weight quicker than others. Parents will say he's "just a little husky," she's "big-boned," or rationalize that extra weight is just baby fat.

SEE MORE: Michelle Obama talks nutrition and 'wakeup call' moment in her family's past

Call it whatever you want, but statistics show obese children often grow up to be obese adults.
And studies have consistently shown that parents tend to underestimate their child's weight. A study in the UK revealed of the 369 kids in the study who were very overweight, only four parents thought they were.

In honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month here's how you can identify the "tipping point" between baby fat and obesity risk.

According to the CDC, 17% of kids and teens ages 2-19 are obese -- that translates to about 12.7 million -- a statistic that hasn't moved much over the last decade.

Researchers in the journal Clinical Pediatrics analyzed the patterns of children's weight gain to determine at what age intervention is most useful. It turns out, some children were on the road to obesity as early as three months, which means doctors and parents need to discuss unhealthy weight gain as early as possible.

So, what if you think there's a problem? Body Mass Index calculators like this one on WebMD can be a good starting point. But remember BMI is NOT a perfect measure, it's only recommended for children over the age of 2. And even if a 2 year old has a high BMI for it's age and sex, a doctor still needs to perform a full evaluation.

For babies aged zero to 24 months, the CDC refers docs and parents to the World Health Organization's "growth charts." Old school, but accurate, and a good way to see if your baby might have a weight problem.

For all parents, the word "diet" doesn't really apply to babies or kids. And experts say restricting a child's caloric intake is always something that needs to be done under the strict supervision of a doctor.

More special coverage on childhood obesity from
The cost of childhood obesity
A few simple choices can help fight childhood obesity
Girl famous for overcoming obesity now a 13-year-old athlete

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