Monday, October 12, 2009

Fat Babies=Overweight Toddlers?

FROM CNN: A new study from Harvard Medical School found that babies who gained weight quickly had a sharply higher risk of obesity. The study followed close to 600 babies and found those in the top quarter of weight for their length at 6 months had a 40 percent higher risk of obesity by age 3 than smaller babies.

The best course of action is to speak with your child's pediatrician. Your child may be large for her age, but not overweight when taken in the context of her height. Also, some babies may grow rapidly at first, and their growth starts to slow as they get older. What does that mean? Your child may be overweight at 6 months, and be at a perfectly healthy weight by age 3. A pediatrician can put your individual questions in the context of your toddler's specific measurements.

Question: If my baby is growing too quickly, what can I do?

First, take a look at your child's feeding habits. Does he push the bottle away before he's finished? If so, do you encourage him to finish it? Experts say babies are often the best judge of when they've had enough, so don't force them to take in more food. Also, are you blending solid foods in with formula or breast milk? Your best bet is to keep them separate. Living Well expert Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician, says babies gauge their fullness by volume, and if you're mixing in solid foods with the liquid, you're making the same volume of milk more caloric.

Finally, try exercise! You're not going to take your toddler to the gym, but Shu says you can put your child on her tummy to give her the chance to practice rolling over. Also, give your child as much time to run around and play as possible -- this is a child's form of exercise.

My new baby is not overweight, but he is gaining weight like crazy! His face is really filling out! My second baby was a little chunk. I remember pulling back the skin on his wrists to clean between the rolls! He is not overweight now by any means though. I am nursing the kids. So it is probably harder to over feed them than if I were using formula. It seems like it would be easy to put a little extra formula in the bottle and maybe not realize it. I don't know. You tell me! Is this something you are concerned about?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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