One in Five Four-Year-Olds is Obese
One in five preschoolers are obese, according to researchers at Ohio State University. That adds up to half-a-million obese four year olds in America.
Baby fat is adorable, and even necessary for survival. Babies are designed to be fat, because fat is needed to help babies regulate their temperature. Those adorable little rolls around their tummies? Their sausage-y legs, fat little fingers, chubby cheeks and squidgy little knees? Precious.
As babies become crawlers and toddlers, and become more aware of the relationship between having a coat on and not being cold, being fat is not vital for survival. And crawling and toddling and running uses up calories and builds muscles, so that baby fat is designed to gradually disappear.
It seems like that isn’t happening in many of today’s children. Many people can tell you their opinion of why people are getting heavier, and getting heavier younger. Perhaps our kids are getting less exercise, maybe they are eating more food, or the wrong kind of food. Perhaps it’s a combination.
And the researcher’s best non-obvious advice for preventing a baby becoming an overweight toddler and an obese preschooler? Helping baby recognise when they are full. Babies are born knowing when they have had enough to eat, and trying to get a baby to eat more than she needs disrupts the natural system and may lead to overeating in future.