infancy and childhood is a leading health problem today. A report from the Institute of Medicine found
that one-third of American children and youths are either obese or at risk
for obesity. Over the past 30 years, the obesity rate has nearly tripled for
children 2-5 years old (from 5% to 14%) and youths 12-19 years old (5% to
17%), and it has nearly quadrupled for children 6-11 years old.
We now know that
infants are at greater risk for obesity if their moms gain excessive weight
during pregnancy. And overweight infants are not
likely to outgrow their "baby fat." They are more likely to become
overweight children and adults. And all of this excess weight puts our
infants, children, and adolescents at hugely greater risk for many
conditions, including high blood pressure, heart and blood vessel
diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
The efforts to stop this must start from the moment
of conception, with better nutritional counseling for pregnant mothers, and
continue with your infant's very first well-ckeckup. Babies don't need apple juice to satisfy thirst. Good old water will
do. And your doctor must carefully monitor your baby's and child's weight
percentiles to let you know early on if his weight is getting out of line
with his height. Early involvement in regular physical activity and limiting
TV, computer, and video-game usage cannot start too soon. And get regular
physical activity as a family.
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