Infants who gain too much weight as babies are more likely to grow into obese toddlers, showing the importance of early eating habits, researchers said on
Watching children while they eat for cues about when they are full and encouraging them to drink plenty of water may help control their weight, according to two studies in the journal Pediatrics.
Obesity rates among U.S. children have doubled in the last 20 years, and almost a third of American children are either overweight or obese. The epidemic of obesity is linked to a host of health problems such as higher risks for heart disease, diabetes and cancer...
Okay. Here's my thing: As an overweight woman, with a lot of overweight family members, I really do understand why it's important for us to be aware and concerned about raising overweight (fat) children. But seriously, 5 million children a year die from malnutrition. This is a worry only in lands of plenty, like ours. However, I think it's important to talk about the opposite. What about underweight children in this skinny-obssessed society?
The New York Times began publishing articles about 20 years ago regarding moms in New York City who were feeding their babies and toddlers skim milk, because they were so worried their children would get fat. In a later article, they reported that girls who growing slowly are referred to specialists about half as often as are boys. Girls are supposed to be "little" after all. But, it is really dangerous having an underweight baby or toddler: one whose height and weight are completely disproportionate, has slower than average weight gain, is below the 5th percentile, etc. Development can be halted, or at least slowed, when the child isn't getting proper nutrition.
We live in a thin-obsessed society, which is not the same thing as being "healthy." Now, I'm not saying all thin women have eating disorders, however, I am saying that our attitudes about food are apparent to our kids. Recent statistics have shown 1 in every 200 American women suffers from anorexia.There have been many studies that suggest anorexia is a trans-generational problem.
Looking at underweight/anorexia statistics next to those of overweight/obesity, I know they're barely comparable. My point is that I have known many parents (living in an urban center - even though it's in the Midwest - where people go to the gym like it's a religion) who are worried about having "the fat kid." Let's raise the healthy kid! That child will be a lot happier than one who is worried about being too fat or too thin.