Are babies too fat?
Almost 10 percent of babies and toddlers carry too much weight for their size. And more than 20 percent of children 2 through 5 are already overweight, the IOM says, which could have pretty serious repercussions later in life.
Linda Thrasybule wrote this article for NPR SHOTS Blog yesterday. As you can imagine the article has gone viral on the internet. I was made aware of it this morning from a friend on Facebook. After reading the article, I HAVE to respond. Yes, it is a serious issue that 20% of children 2 to 5 are overweight. However, do we really need to start the weight-conscious issues at age 2?
The baby above is adorable. I have several friends with babies who looked just like that. Today they are happy, healthy and fit children. I cannot imagine telling a mother that her baby is too fat! Seriously America, what is the obsession with FAT?
The report suggests that everyone who cares for children—including state and local agencies, health care providers and child care providers—needs to help reign in the baby fat.
Here’s my first issue. Baby Fat? We need to reign in the baby fat? What we need to reign in sedentary day care centers. Make it easier for American families to have a parent stay home with their children. Support breastfeeding mothers in our society. Heavily tax the fast food and junk food industries, not supplement them. Let’s START with that before we call babies fat!
The specific recommendations from the panel (bold emphasis my response).
Pediatricians should track weight gain at every routine visit. This is a great idea if your baby is formula fed. Quit tracking weight of breast fed babies. I spent most of my children’s infant years arguing that my 5% percentile babies were not thriving. They were. There should to be 2 different charts: one for formula & one for breast.
Cut down the time children spend watching TV or using the computer or cell phone. CELL PHONE at age 2? REALLY? This should be, LIMIT the amount of time your child engages with electronic media to an hour a day. I wish I could actually accomplish this…
Encourage children in preschool and child care to get more physical activity. And they are going to accomplish this how? We need to encourage parents to stay home with their children and let them grow up playing, running around at parks, being active. Not stuck in a small classroom with scheduled 15 minute breaks on a playground. That’s not going to happen until we change our policies.
Make sure children get enough shut eye. Americans as a whole need more shut eye. I agree with this one entirely!
Encourage mothers to stick with breastfeeding for at least six months. 6 MONTHS? They should be encouraging 1 to 2 years! I breastfed from 1 year to 18 months. It avoids the need for FORMULA.
Make sure kids are getting the right food portions for their age. If there is any area our government should get involved this is it. Instead of subsidizing the big companies who have destroyed our food system, they should be promoting local and sustainable food systems. The amount of money we waste on corporate subsidies we could use to educate our society about the proper food portions.
So parents and child care providers can do small kids a favor by not letting them get too big, even if that means turning off Nickelodeon.
Yes, let’s not let them get UNHEALTHY. Start by breastfeeding them for 1-2 years, keep them out of the corporate day care setting and don’t feed them processed junk food, drinks and snacks. Unfortunately, the people who really need to worry about this won’t. The rest of us will have to battle with well-meaning but misguided individuals.
Personally, I’m not worried about my children getting too fat. They have amazingly fast metabolisms. However, I am not in agreement that all people need to be skinny. We need to emphasize HEALTH…not Body Size.
That’s my little rant for the morning. I am heading to the OCEAN Network conference for 2 days so my next posting will be Sunday or Monday. Have a great Friday!