Battling Childhood Obesity From the Crib

You probably recall the study I posted a year ago about the many risk factors associated with childhood obesity and may have wondered how this epidemic has filtered down to our children so quickly. If you're still among the skeptical, consider these two frightening statistics included in this excellent Time Magazine article, based on a 2002 survey.

  • One out of every five babies eats candy every day by age 2.
  • French fries -- not carrots or green beans -- tops the list of vegetables fed to toddlers.

Alarming facts indeed, considering babies regulate how much they eat during their first year on their own, but learn social cues, by year two, that prompt them to respond and consume new food even if they aren't hungry. Unfortunately, those social cues take hold just as a child's growth rate naturally slows down and they don't need as much food.

However, the article points out, parents tend to forget about the natural growth slowdown and fixate on forcing a picky toddler to eat. The result: Parents dole out snacks on the run during the day that are undoubtedly no good for their health and, at dinnertime, rely on fast, processed food standards: Pizza, macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.

It's long overdue for parents to step up to the plate and make a difference because preventing obesity early on is far easier than treating this condition as they grow older. And, you'll need to serve as a good role model for them too.

Some steps you can take immediately to curb the spread of childhood obesity in your home:

Time Magazine June 4, 2006 Registration Required

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