This article is for all the moms and dads out there with tiny babies, both current and yet-to-be-born. It was triggered by a discussion I had with my staff yesterday about a young mother who was feeding her infant Gatorade and graham crackers as the baby’s staple diet.
It is never too early to start kids on the path to healthy eating, and children begin to establish eating habits in their first year of life.
A study from Brazil, published online in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, showed that the foundations for obesity also start in the first year of life. When health care workers trained soon-to-be-mothers about healthy feeding practices, their children consumed less fat and fewer carbohydrates at 3 years of age and had lower measures of body fat at the age of 6. Families in the study were informed about foods that should not be offered to children less than 2 years of age such as cookies, soft drinks and other concentrated sweets.
Calorie intake at all ages was lower in the intervention group compared to the control group, with a statistically significant difference at age 3. At 6 years of age, children from the intervention group had accumulated less body fat, as measured by a smaller waist circumference and thinner skin folds. The researchers stated the difference between the groups was initially small, approximately 92 calories a day from these processed sources but, over time, that added up to 33,000 calories a year.
That many calories in a small person is substantial and, according to this study, significant in future weight gain and risk for obesity.
Parents of tiny persons — do not fall for the marketing lies, or the desire to give your small one a treat. Limit man-made, processed sweets and products in your little baby and the long-term results will payoff greatly into your child’s future.
Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at drwilley.com.