Childhood obesity is a rising problem in the United States, with more than one third of children and adolescents diagnosed as obese, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. With such a high risk, it is important to do everything in your power to prevent childhood obesity. Research shows steps can be taken during gestation and infancy to do so.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, some factors that lead children to have an increased risk of being overweight were maternal weight gain during pregnancy, shorter-than-recommended breastfeeding durations, and not enough sleep during pregnancy. These factors can lead to long-term regulation of energy balance and affect the development of hypothalamic circuits that regulate body weight.
Reduce your infant’s risks by limiting weight gain during pregnancy, prolonging breast-feeding, and resting the proper amount of time. In addition to these steps during gestation, OC Family Magazine stresses the importance of your infant getting regular check-ups to ensure that your child is growing regularly within normal limits. During these check-ups, make sure the doctor informs you where your child falls on the growth charts. Share the feeding responsibilities between partners and ensure consistent nutrition. Ages 1 – 2 is a crucial growth stage and when a child’s eating habits form.