Is metabolism set from birth? One lab is studying newborns to find out

Tiny babies as young as two weeks old are shepherded into the Pennington Biomedical Research Center's lab in strollers and car-seat carriers 

Their job is easy: hang out while scientists take careful measurements of their body fat and metabolism 

By studying metabolism in the first weeks of life — the lab will uncover the biological basis of obesity 

The theory is that a person's "metabolic fingerprint" is set for life at birth, she said 

Decoding that fingerprint could ultimately lead to personalized interventions for children at risk for obesity 

Despite millions of dollars spent each year on obesity research, prevention and treatment, America's obesity epidemic continues to grow 

Nationwide, it affects nearly 20 percent of children and teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention