Health Watch — Childhood Obesity: Starting Young

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

The statistics about childhood obesity are alarming. More than 30 percent of American children and teens are obese, and doctors are seeing weight-related illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes that usually strike adults occurring in younger and younger children.

Cindy Cunningham, a nutritionist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says parents can help prevent childhood obesity, and the effort starts soon after birth. Get your child off to a good start with breastfeeding, then introduce solid foods when the child is developmentally ready — usually around four to six months of age. Learn to recognize your child’s hunger signs and feed only when the child is hungry. Don’t use food as a pacifier or reward.

Next: More tips for dealing with childhood obesity.


April 2007

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