Will Your Child Become Obese?

© iStockphoto

By: Sasha Emmons
A new online tool let parents calculate their child's chance of being overweight, reports MSNBC. Researchers at Imperial College London came up with a formula to predict which babies are at high risk for childhood obesity in the hopes that they can head off problems before they start.

Plus: Childhood Obesity Health Guide

Researchers came up with the formula based on risk factors like birth weight, parental BMI, number of people in the household, mother's type of employment and whether she smoked during pregnancy. It was developed using data from a 1986 study that followed 4,000 children in Finland. A study of the test, which gauged its accuracy using actual weights of kids in three counties, was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Try the calculator here.

According to a recent Kaiser Permanente report, 7.3% of boys and 5.5% of girls can be classified as extremely obese. Rates of childhood obesity or excess weight have exploded over the past few decades, tripling in about the past 30 years and threatening the health and quality of life for one-third of all American children. These kids are at risk for previously adults-only conditions such as type 2 diabetes high blood pressure and joint pain. For the first time in history, U.S. children may face a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Plus: Study Says Only Children are at Higher Risk for Obesity

What do you think? Is this a good indicator of a potential problem, or is it impossible to predict who will become overweight?

More from Parenting.com:
Easy Mocktail Recipes
Christmas Crafts for Kids
Our Top Holiday Books