Many moms mistakenly think that bigger is better when their infants and toddlers are concerned. They mistake their children’s chubbiness as a sign of health instead of a condition that might be the precursor to being overweight or even obese in later years.
The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine recently reported that 70% of mothers fail to accurately assess the body size of their infants and toddlers. The study also showed that mothers of overweight toddlers were more likely to be more satisfied with their child’s body size than mothers of average or underweight children.
Seeing as how these mothers equated chubbiness with health and good parenting, doctors fear that mothers may be actually be encouraging their children to gain weight. This would add to the childhood obesity epidemic that is currently escalating in the United States.
And the statistics are pretty astonishing. Childhood obesity has tripled since the 1970s. Worse yet, one in three children in the U.S. today are overweight or obese by the time they reach age five.
Doctors are adamant: Prevention is the key. If your child is 85% or above on the growth chart, recognize that this may be a red flag. Take action by replacing sugary drinks with water; engage your children in active, outdoor play; and give them fruits and vegetables to eat.
Psychology professionals also say that parents have much more influence over their kids when they are young. This makes it very important to begin to encourage healthy eating, drinking, and exercise habits in the first few years.