7 Tips for Trimmer Tots
By Jude Buglewicz
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
Even newborns are
fatter these days. The number of overweight babies jumped 74 percent over a
22-year period, according to a recent study by Harvard Medical School
researchers. And since there's a strong correlation between being overweight
early in life and being obese later, this is not good news. Not for expectant
mothers, new moms and dads, or the children coming into this world. Not unless
you know what to do to increase a child's chances of growing up healthy. Read
on to find out.
Why baby is fat
First of all, it's
not clear what being "overweight" means for very young children, so there's
some controversy about how these claims are determined. Babies grow in
accelerated spurts, so they can look chubby or not, depending on their height.
The researchers in the study cited above examined kids under the age of 6 over
a period of 22 years, and, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention for reference, considered that children at or above the 95th
percentile on growth charts nationally for their age and gender (based on body
mass index, or weight-to-height ratios) were overweight. They believe babies
are overweight mainly because of:
- Overweight moms.
More and more women are overweight when they become pregnant, or gain excessive
weight during pregnancy. Studies show that babies of obese mothers consume more
calories than babies of healthy-weight moms.
This is especially detrimental in the first two years of a child's life. More
than 20 studies from around the world confirm that if babies gain too much
weight rapidly during this period, they have a greater risk of being obese
later in life.
Health risks/costs of chubbier
Childhood obesity has tripled in the
past 20 years, resulting in increased health risks for children as well as
economic costs for their families and for the children themselves as they move
- More expensive.
Obese children cost the health system three times more than average
normal-weight insured children.
hospital stays. Obese children are two to three times more likely to
be hospitalized than healthy-weight children.
diseases/ailments. Obesity-related diseases and conditions include
type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, sleep apnea, hypertension,
osteoporosis, increased LDL ("bad") cholesterol, liver and gallbladder
diseases, and some cancers. They account for up to 7.8 percent of all health
More money spent on
health care in adulthood. If a child is obese at four years old, he or
she is 20 percent more likely to be an obese adult; the probability of an obese
adolescent developing into an obese adult is between 40 and 80 percent. Obese
adults spend 77 percent more than healthy-weight people on medications and 36
percent more on inpatient and outpatient care.
Researchers at Stanford University investigating health care insurance costs
found that obese women earn less than healthier women: "We find that a
substantial part of the lower wages among obese women attributed to labor
market discrimination can be explained by the higher health insurance premiums
required to cover them."
7 tips for healthy tots
If you as a parent are overweight, then
it is imperative that you learn and adopt healthy eating habits so you can
teach them to your children. No parent wants to jeopardize their child's future
health and well-being. Here are some things you can do to ensure your baby or
child maintains a healthy weight:
- Breastfeed your
baby. Numerous studies have shown that breastfeeding
reduces the risk of obesity, compared with formula feeding. Breastfeeding for
more than six months has a beneficial long-term effect on the child's health.
(It's unusual for breastfed babies to overfeed.)
Feed children slowly.
Don't train them to gulp down food quickly. Remember,
you're establishing lifelong patterns.
Train your baby to leave a little formula in the bottle
and your kids a little food on the plate, and to stop eating before they're
Small portions, often.
This goes for babies and children. Babies are tiny; their
stomachs are tiny (about the size of their tiny fist), so rather than trying to
give your baby a whole bottle, make the feedings shorter and more frequent.
With older kids, give smaller portions at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and
healthy, low-calorie (sugarless) snacks between meals. And NO soda pop! (See
why it's the "worst
food on the planet.")
Take the sippy cup away.
If you allow your toddler to hold on to a cup or bottle
all day long, they'll learn to associate food with comfort. (Food should be
associated with hunger and that's it!)
Don't use food as a reward.
Instead, give your child affection and praise when they've
Get kids moving.
Get down on the floor and play with your baby. Crawl
around, move, and get those little muscles working. Be sure tots and older kids
get lots of exercise, too (instead of plopping down in front of the TV for
Bhattacharya, Jay, and Bundorf, M.
Kate. "The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Obesity." Stanford University,
April 2005, Abstract.
Owen, Christopher G., Ph.D., et al. "Effect of Infant
Feeding on the Risk of Obesity Across the Life Course: A Quantitative Review of
Published Evidence." Pediatrics. (2005), 115 (5): 1367-1377.
Peterson, K. E, et al. "Trends in overweight from 1980 through 2001 among
preschool-aged children enrolled in a health maintenance organization."
Obesity. (2006), 14 (7):1107-12.