Roly-poly babies may be fun to tickle and pinch, but how healthy are they? As the White House tries to focus attention on our childhood obesity epidemic, new evidence suggests that we should take a look at the nation's youngest tots, in addition to those who are already in school.
The Science section of today's New York Times, features an article that suggests childhood obesity can be detected as early as infancy. While much attention is paid to the diet and activity levels of school-aged kids, one in 10 children under two-years-old is overweight. According to the author:
More and more evidence points to pivotal events very early in life — during the toddler years, infancy and even before birth, in the womb — that can set young children on an obesity trajectory that is hard to alter by the time they’re in kindergarten. The evidence is not ironclad, but it suggests that prevention efforts should start very early.
The author goes on to show that losing weight prior to pregnancy, early diagnosis of gestational diabetes, eliminating smoking during pregnancy, increasing the number of hours a newborn sleeps each night and breastfeeding can all help reduce the risk of obesity.