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Healthy Eating Habits Before and After Pregnancy to Prevent Childhood Obesity

As we all know, childhood obesity is becoming more and more of a problem every day. In the late 70s only 6.5 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds were obese. Now that number has more than tripled. In 2008, almost 1 in 5 children over the age of 2 were obese. And all these weight problems lead to so many health problems early in life that little kids just shouldn’t have to deal with. Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, fatty liver and the dreaded early onset of puberty in very young girls are some of the health risks associated with childhood obesity.

A few weeks ago, a large study found that the population is becoming heavier as early as nine months old. Now I would really like to analyze this study in depth. We really need to take action on childhood obesity, but going so far as to state little babies can be obese is absurd in my opinion. The only information I could find with some quick research is that the study looked at a very large group since 2001. As we all know, breastfeeding rates have been steadily increasing over the past 10 years, and it is general knowledge that breastfed babies, who eat on demand, are usually pretty plump to say the least. My son was in the 99% percentile for height and weight until after he hit 1 year, and I was an underweight mother. Now at three years, he and I both are at a healthy weight.

Little babies need to appear very plump to help their development. Most all doctors will tell you after babies start walking, they will get taller and lose all their pudginess. I am appalled anyone released this study. Even though no one is condoning putting a baby on a diet, some over-concerned parents will, with good intentions, do the wrong thing. The thought of restricting a baby’s breastfeeding/formula or solid foods is a terrible idea that can lead to failure to thrive and who knows what other kinds of emotional problems later in life.

The simple truth is, if you’re overweight, your child will more than likely be overweight. If you want your kids to be healthy, you have to be healthy. You have to set the example, break years of bad habits and change for the better to help your children.

The good thing is you can start the change while you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. Being at a healthy weight increases your chances of conceiving. And then when you’re finally pregnant, you have to gain the amount of weight that your doctor or midwife recommends.

While you’re pregnant, eat a wide variety of foods, because all the flavors will enter the amniotic fluid. This early exposure to diverse foods will help your baby be a better eater.

After the baby is born, breastfeed as long and as often as you possibly can. It will melt your pounds and is the best thing you can do for your baby.

When you start with solids, skip the rice cereal and go for veggies. I started mine out with avocado mush. And as your baby grows, make your baby food if possible. Jarred baby food can be bland and tasteless. You can find some delicious baby food recipes at my site. Brown rice or oatmeal is another option.

Make sure you and your child get some exercise everyday. This can be in the backyard, the daycare playground or a local playground in your community. For my family, it’s usually the gym. My husband and I work out while our son plays with the other kids in the kiddie gym area.

Another good bit of advice is to ditch the clean plate policy. Make sure you use portion control on things like meat and pasta so your kids will try their vegetables, but never make them eat all of something. If my son is not eating his veggies like he should, I start making vegetarian meals or only give him a little bit of meat or pasta, the things he usually has no problem eating.

For more tips and tricks on how to help curb childhood obesity, you can find the original article, Preventing Childhood Obesity here.

Photo credit: istock /mrPliskin

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