While doctors agree that obesity prevention should start early on in life, some ring the alarm early…I mean really early–before the kid is even born.
Dr. Elsie M. Taveras, an assistant professor of population medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, feels that, while there is not yet any hard data from controlled studies to prove it, observational studies show that there are many risk factors in prenatal, infancy and early childhood that eventually steer children toward becoming obese adults.
Let’s start with the Mom-to-be. A kid’s likelihood of obesity is raised when the mom is overweight. Considering that almost half of pregnant Americans are either overweight or obese, this is strike one for many children.
Tack on to that the fact that gaining too much weight during pregnancy and/or contracting gestational diabetes can also influence kids to be overweight later in life. Consider that strike two.
Once the baby is born, parents are urged to pay attention to the ratio of height vs. weight. If the child’s poundage is high for his height, there’s a good change he could be obese by as early as age 3. Excessive weight gain in the first year can be an indicator of future obesity. Whether physical or psychological, the body is conditioned to expect more food.
Clearly there’s no such thing as starting too early.