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That Baby Fat Might Be An Omen Doctors And Parents Should Watch
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That Baby Fat Might Be An Omen Doctors And Parents Should Watch

According to a new report released by the Institute of Medicine, problems with childhood obesity may start at an earlier age than had previously been thought. For most people, the blame is laid on the schools and the school lunch programs as well as a loss of recess time in many school districts across the country. However, the new research is suggesting that weight problems are developing long before children are even at school age and that toddlers, even as young as two are showing up with serious weight problems.

Leann Birch, the Chairperson of the Committee that wrote the report, has said that many babies and toddlers do not grow out of their baby fat. According to the study, about 20% of children are overweight or obese when they first start school, indicating that the problem started long before. There is a higher concentration of children with weight issues in lower income families as well as African American families and Hispanic families.

A number of guidelines were included in the report, including removing the television from the children’s bedroom, teaching children to eat only when they are hungry and to make sure that playtime is always encouraged. Parents should not restrict playtime as a punishment for misbehavior for instance. Mothers should also be encouraged to breastfeed to the age of six months.

Because so many children are in day care, after school programs or other types of care after school, there should be guidelines for activity levels while they are there. Some programs must comply with federal guidelines for health and nutrition, but there are others that do not have such restrictions to follow. Toddlers and small children should be up and moving around in an active game or exercise for at least fifteen minutes of every hour.

The report also discussed the need for proper levels of sleep for children. The suggestion of moving the television out of the bedroom deals with both the limitation of screen time as well as the problem that it can cause with disrupting the sleep cycle. When children have a TV in their bedroom, they often fall asleep with it on, which eventually will disrupt their sleep cycles. Televisions also can cause problems because the children see so many ads for foods and beverages every day.

Children should never be forced to eat, especially when they are not hungry. When they do want a snack or a meal, healthy foods should be the only option. If they have to pick between a favorite or a healthier food, they are almost always going to go for the junk foods.

In addition, to these suggestions, the report also added the importance of having the height and weight of each child documented at every checkup so that the health care team can catch any potential signs of impending problems. It is important to make sure that everyone is trying to do the best for the child.


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