Obesity is a Worldwide Endemic
It’s no secret that obesity is becoming endemic in many parts of the world, including the United States. What is lesser known is that the number of babies suffering from obesity is also growing at an alarming rate.
Recently, the Institute of Medicine released a report on obesity prevention for children under the age of 5. This report illuminated some alarming statistics: 10 percent of infants and toddlers are carrying excess weight. One in five children will become overweight or obese before getting to kindergarten.
While these statistics are certainly alarming, there is no easy answer to why this trend is developing. The medical community can’t blame this trend on the same causes of adult obesity, but one thing is clear – the parents are to blame.
Nutrition for Toddlers and Children
One cannot expect a toddler or even young child to know what food choices are better nutritionally than others. Sadly, neither can many of their parents. Lack of education or money required to buy more expensive whole foods is causing many parents to make unintentional but poor food choices for their children.
One major culprit in childhood obesity is empty calories. Fruit drinks, energy drinks and even soda is being given to children at alarmingly high amounts. Children who walk around with a sippy cup full of juice is just consuming empty calories. Juice, especially the “cocktail” varieties have very little nutritional value and are full of sugar. Soda is a worse culprit – more and more young children are being served sugar-dense sodas with meals.
All of this sugar in a toddler’s body is resulting in conditions that until now, have been rarely seen in children. Glucose insulin resistance (a precursor to type 2 diabetes), high cholesterol and even arthritis is being found in our young children.