So much for cute dimples and chubby cheeks! Some US parents are so concerned about their child’s future weight, they’re putting their little ones on diets while they are still in important stages of growth.
Although one in 10 US children is overweight by the age of 2, experts are concerned that parents are not responding in a helpful way to the problem. Many do not understand their own relationship with food and how to set a good example to their children.
“I have seen parents putting their infant and 1-year-old on diets because of history in one parent or another,” said Dr Jatinder Bhatia from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
We already know that children’s relationship with eating and dieting can be influenced by their parents, but this is another level. Cases of eating disorders have also risen in the States by 119% between 1999 and 2006 and there are fears that forcing diets on very young children can harm their self-esteem.
Dr Jatinder told ABC that dieting for babies was not the answer to the obesity crisis but that, “We need to stop the notion that fat, cuddly, cute babies are a good thing.” She recommended speaking to your doctor when you begin weaning about giving your child a balanced diet and suggested new mums should breastfeed at least for the first six months as this has been linked to lower obesity rates.
For more tips on how to feed your child healthy and nutritious food, check out our feeding section.