In many cases efforts to curb childhood obesity are aimed at children who are school-aged. However, new research suggests that interventions directed towards this group may be too late.
The most recent evidence indicates that pivotal times to introduce preventative efforts in your child’s life are during infancy and the toddler years.
According to experts, there are several measures you can take to prevent obesity and keep your baby at a healthy weight.
The Mayo Clinic recommends:
- Monitor your weight gain during pregnancy.Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can increase a baby’s birth weight. Research suggests that as birth weight increases, so does the risk of childhood obesity.
- Breast-feed.Some research suggests that breast-feeding reduces the risk of childhood obesity.
- Limit sugar-sweetened drinks.Juice isn’t a necessary part of a baby’s diet. As you start introducing solid foods, consider offering nutritious fruits and vegetables instead.
- Experiment with ways to soothe your baby.Don’t automatically turn to breast milk or formula to quiet your baby’s cries. Sometimes a new position, a calmer environment or a gentle touch is all that’s needed.
- Limit media use.The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than age 2. The more TV your child watches, the greater his or her risk is of becoming overweight.
It is important to keep in mind that your child needs a diet that is high in healthy fats to foster growth during infancy and caloric restrictions aimed at reducing weight is not recommended for babies under the age of two. It is highly suggested that you speak to your doctor about age-appropriate dietary guidelines before implementing any changes.
If you feel that you child may be overweight or you would like more information about childhood obesity, please contact Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to make an appointment.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.