One in five pre-school kids in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and more must be done to help prevent them packing on the pounds, says a report published on June 23 by the Institute of Medicine.
We’ve heard the statistics about one in three children being overweight or obese, but preschoolers?
Preschoolers Aren’t Getting Enough Exercise
This is depressing news, and perhaps even more alarming is the Institute’s suggestion that children between two and five need to get at least 15 minutes of physical activity for every hour they spend in childcare.
Don’t all kids naturally want to run around and explore? How sad if today’s toddlers need to sign up for exercise class in order to stay fit.
Youngest Children At Risk Of Obesity
Here’s how the report from the Institute of Medicine opens:
Even the youngest children in the United States are at risk of becoming obese. Today, almost 10 percent of infants and toddlers carry excess weight for their length, and slightly more than 20 percent of children between the ages of two and five are already overweight or obese. Because early obesity can track into adulthood, efforts to prevent obesity should begin long before a child enters school.
A few other pointers from this report:
* Kids don’t usually outgrow their baby fat, contrary to popular belief, and better food guidelines are needed to help parents.
* Parents and caregivers need to know just how much toddlers should eat as they move from baby food to bigger-kid fare.
Dietary Guidelines For Toddlers?
From The Daily Mail:
The nation’s dietary guidelines include a special section for pre-schoolers, including information that a portion size generally is about one tablespoon of each food type per year of age.
But overall, those national guidelines are aimed at ages two and older – though surveys show even very young children eat too few of the fruits and vegetables they need.
So the institute called on the government to create consumer-friendly dietary guidelines for birth to age two.
It also sounds like it is time for some parenting education. Diet and exercise are crucial for a healthy lifestyle for adults, but may be even more important for toddlers and preschoolers. And at that age, they will eat (or not eat) whatever is put in front of them.
Let’s start taking this issue seriously.
Photo Credit: iStock
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