We used to think a chubby baby was a sign of a healthy baby. How many times have we heard someone say " that is just baby fat, they will lose it when they grow!"
Well for many babies that is not the case. We now know that if a baby gains too much weight too quickly, he or she will be 2 to 4 times more likely to become an overweight toddler. And it goes from there. Chubby toddlers become overweight children and then teens. As the child gets older, it becomes harder and harder to lose the weight. That is why it is so important that we teach children while they are young and just beginning to form their habits and food associations.
I just read about a new study, actually, one of the first studies to target childhood obesity in children under two years old. Doctors see children for eight well baby visits and these visits offer an ideal time to really work with families to educate them about healthy eating and daily exercise.
Dr Russell Rothman, assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital in Vanderbilt will be organizing this five year study. They will enroll 1000 children from ages 4 months to 2 years.
The goal is to develop a set of tools for pediatricians to use with families. Since babies at 4 months will just begin to start eating solids, it is the ideal time to help parents learn about healthy eating, portion sizes, sugary juices that should be reduced and the importance of an active family.
But, in reality, it is never too late to begin to change our habits. It would be ideal if we taught our kids to eat healthy when they are just starting their first foods, but we didn't know as much as we know now. The great thing is that numerous studies have shown how just making small changes in a child's diet can really make a difference.
I know, if you read my blog, you have heard this many times. But, it is so true that I have to say it again! EACH change you make will add up to a healthier child. Start with one or two goals. Celebrate the successes and above all, have fun with it.
If you are not sure how to start, we have a list healthy habits for you and your children to choose from. Print out the family agreements and kids friendly tracking sheets so you can stay on target. Click here and scroll down the page a bit!
Other resources: Well Child Pediatrician Visit Sheets for your child's next visit to the doctor - select by age. (scroll to the bottom of page)