Health Watch - A Good Start: Childhood Obesity

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.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about giving children a healthy start in life by dealing with potential problems in early stages so they don’t become major problems in adulthood. One alarming trend we’ve seen recently is an increase in childhood obesity rates, with more obesity occurring in younger children — and with more obesity-related problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes that used to be associated with older adults occurring in younger people.

But obesity isn’t inevitable. Cindy Cunningham, a nutrition expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says even people who may be genetically predisposed to obesity can avoid weight gain with proper diet and exercise. She says parents should start early to prevent obesity — while their children are infants. She recommends breast feeding and then introducing solid foods at 4 to 6 months. Learn to recognize when your child really is hungry, and don’t use food as a pacifier.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.


January 2009

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