In one of the most dangerous developments over the last few years, an extraordinary number of children now struggle with their weight, and that problem can begin as early as infancy. Lifestyle changes are almost entirely to blame for this problem. Watching too much television, eating processed foods, and not having active time are some of the behaviors at fault for the childhood obesity epidemic.
There is no reason for a young child (or an adult for that matter) to eat or drink sodas, processed snack foods, and candy. Fruit and calcium-rich foods make the best snacks. Unlike older children, one-year-olds rely on you completely for the food choices. If they are eating poorly or are not active enough, you need to make their lifestyle changes for them.
Childhood obesity is dangerous for a number of reasons. First, it sets a baby up for a lifetime of health problems and weight struggle. An overweight child is more likely to be overweight as an adult and to struggle with weight-related illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Second, overweight children develop habits that will make it more difficult for them to eat well and exercise more as they get older. Third, their childhood will be more difficult, including potential illness, as well as school problems due to poor nutrition and a lack of healthy physical development.
Some children are genetically predisposed to weight problems. If the adults in your family were heavy as children, then your child may struggle with this, too. If obesity runs in your family, tell your pediatrician. She should be able to help you find ways to feed your child well. When an entire family is overweight, it is even more important to emphasize a healthy diet.
The more the television is on, the more likely it is that your child will be overweight. Whether your child watches television is completely within your control. Though most children under the age of two watch more than two hours of television a day, they are perfectly happy without the television at all.
Even if exercise and an active lifestyle do not come naturally to you or your family, you will do your child a great favor in life if you get outside to play with him, and do things like go to the pool and run around playgrounds. Activity is a significant contributor to good health, and all parents should encourage their children to engage in it.