Keep Activity Trackers the Hell Away From Perfect Little Chunky Baby Legs

Keep Activity Trackers the Hell Away From Perfect Little Chunky Baby Legs

Little babies are not beholden to the arbitrary goal of getting 10,000 steps per day (technically they can’t take any steps), but a recent study published earlier this month looked into whether the limited physical activity available to infants might make a difference in how round they are. Researchers at Johns Hopkins affixed tiny accelerometers to 3, 6, 9, and 12-month-old babies’ ankles and monitored their movement for four-day period, which is an objectively cute concept; just think of the world’s smallest FitBit on a chubby, roll-filled baby leg. It’s stinkin’ adorable!!!

Researchers acknowledge that tracking baby movement is inherently flawed; babies kick around, are swung around by adults, and most commonly move by being, themselves, picked up and moved. So the little accelerometers are picking up a lot of movement that doesn’t really “count,” so to speak. In any case, the researchers “gently” checked the babies’ body fat with tiny calipers. This is where the experiment goes from kinda cute to mostly demented. Picturing little babies getting squeezed with tiny medical instruments is sad, even if the bad feeling is merely adult-learned body shame being projected onto a clueless, babbling infant. At risk of sounding like an evangelical mommy blogger…… Let them be little!!!! And chubby.

The study ultimately concludes that babies who appeared to move less had higher percentages of body fat. Scientifically speaking, researchers aren’t sure how that might affect fat development as they age; previous research suggests that babies who gain weight quickly in their first year go on to gain weight more rapidly throughout childhood, but further studies, beyond age 1, are needed. And not scientifically speaking, all the study subjects were equally cute.

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