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Toddler on a Diet?

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A new movement to prevent childhood obesity has some moms concerned.

toddler_eating_ice_cream.jpg

Pediatricians around the country are providing weight-management programs for parents interested in teaching their kids healthy eating habits at an early age. Kids can choose "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" foods and learn to listen to bodily cues as well as find out about the importance of exercise. These doctors say it's never too early to start managing a child's weight -- especially with the rise in childhood obesity -- but is teaching a child about weight at such a young age just asking for eating disorders later in life?

Pediatrician and momlogic contributor Dr. Cara Natterson weighs in:

"I think this is fabulous. It is never to early to teach children how to eat well and live healthfully. It is true that obesity among children has skyrocketed over the past two decades, and studies show that an overweight
2- or 3-year-old is at greater risk for becoming an obese adult. Perhaps the entire family will benefit because you can't ask a parent to enforce nutrition rules for a young child that they don't follow themselves."

Pediatrician Dr. Gwenn had this to say:

"I give these programs two thumbs up! There is a growing body of scientific data to support that childhood obesity tracks very, very young and that the biggest hurdle is parental admission of the problem. Parents just can't see it. They must admit their kids have weight issue at any age. There is a reason the doc is bringing it up, and it has nothing to do with the growth chart and everything to do with that child's future health and risk of serious issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes. For toddlers, the "right" way to support them is to help them learn how to eat healthy. I explain to kids and parents at all ages that if a body is overweight it is telling you two important facts:
1. it is not being fed correctly.
2. it is not being moved enough.

Plus, there is a social stigma that develops the longer a child is overweight. All of this is preventable if parents become more realistic."

What's your view on toddler weight programs?


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