Don’t be surprised if infant gyms starting popping up across the country because according to a new study children under the age of six are more likely to be overweight than they were two decades ago. Melissa Trujillo of the Associated Press reports:
"This just adds more weight to the growing body of evidence that there's an epidemic of obesity in the United States," said Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Obesity Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, who was not involved with the study. "Good habits need to begin at the very beginning of life."Trujillo explains for some having an overweight child can be quite a wake up call:
The study's authors looked at medical records of more than 120,000 children who visited doctors from 1980 through 2001. All were enrolled in a health maintenance organization that used an electronic medical record system and most came from middle-class families.
The study found that over the 22-year period, the prevalence of overweight children increased from 6.3 percent to 10 percent, while the rate of risk for being overweight increased from 11.1 percent to 14.4 percent.
In infants under 6 months — a group Gillman said has seldom been included in weight studies — the prevalence of being overweight increased from 3.4 percent to 5.9 percent during the same period, a jump of more than 73 percent.
Sara Keng, 29, a mother of three from Woonsocket, R.I., said she wasn't surprised by the study's results. She blamed the increase of overweight children on "super-sized" foods and on harried parents who rely on fast foods to feed their families.And there you have an important part of improving children’s eating habits. According to Dr. Fuhrman eating healthier is a commitment the whole family has to make. Consider this excerpt from Disease-Proof Your Child:
Keng said she got a wake-up call when her oldest son, now 4, became overweight when he was a toddler, forcing her and her husband to change the family's eating habits.
The major cause of this recent phenomenon of obesity is the availability and consumption of high-caloric, low-nutrient foods and the decreased consumption of high-nutrient foods. When families finally realize that the consumption of vegetables, beans, and fruits is the essential foundation of an adequate diet, we will rarely see an obese child. It is literally impossible to become obese when consuming a diet that predominates in healthful, natural food.For more pointers on getting children to eat better, check out this podcast: Dr. Fuhrman on Getting Children to Eat Well
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