A heart-breaking new statistic that all parents should be concerned with has just been released by MSNBC.com: nearly one third of all U.S. babies are too fat.
The long term study was comprised of more than 7,500 infants from across the country who were all born in 2001. By the time the infants were nine-months old, 32 percent were considered overweight or even obese when compared to the standard growth charts developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When the children were two-years old, the percentage had increased to 34 percent.
Luckily, just because your baby is a little chunky now does not mean he/she will be an obese adult – if you start making changes now.
“It can take just a few tweaks to a baby’s diet to make a difference,” said Dr. Wendy Slusser, an associate clinical professor and medical director. “It’s probably only about 150 calories a day difference that we’re talking about.”
It is much easier for babies and young children to lose weight than it is for older children, according to Dr. Goutham Rao, the clinical director of the Weight Management and Wellness Center a the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at the University of Pittsburgh Medial Center.
“That means that these children are not necessarily condemned to be obese,” Rao said. “Every child that has a healthy diet will get to a healthy weight.”
To keep a child at a healthy weight, avoid sweet foods and drinks, such as fruit juices and sugary snacks. When you start to give your child solid foods, encourage him/her to eat a wide variety of pureed vegetables and fruits; you might even consider making your own baby food to insure your baby gets all the vitamins and nutrients he/she needs. Also highly important is the portion size your child is eating.
Parents often don’t realize that children’s portions are far smaller than those of adults,” Rao said. “The rule of thumb…is that your portion of any sort of food should be no bigger than your first. For a one-year old, that’s pretty tiny.”