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Childhood obesity is the on the rise, but should you really be concerned about the weight of your baby?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents and pediatricians keep track of children’s weight from birth and on. However, it is not necessary to obsess about the weight of a child younger than 2 years.

Growth and Weight

Children grow and develop at different rates, so a child’s weight under the age of 2 is not necessarily an indicator of being heavy later in life. A child’s weight is dependent on various factors such as:

Breastfeeding: Children that are breastfed tend to be leaner because they only eat when they are hungry and not when prompted by parents.

Environment: If one or both parents practice poor nutrition, limited physical exercise and are overweight, the chances of an overweight child sharply rise.

Development: Growth slows between 12 to 15 months.

Start Early and Model Healthy Habits

Despite widespread misinformation, children who are overweight before the age of 2 will not necessarily become obese later in their lives. However, it is crucial for parents to model habits of healthy eating and exercise so kids can put them into practice as they age.

Some suggestions for healthy habits include:

  • Breastfeeding your child for the first 6 months, and then with supplemental foods until one year of age or longer.
  • Don’t force your child to finish the contents of every bottle at feeding times.
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet while reducing cereals and grains.
  • Give formula in bottles unless otherwise instructed by your child’s health care provider.
  • Avoid fruit juice until your child is a toddler.
  • Always avoid soft drinks and artificially sweetened drinks.

If you still have questions, doubts or concerns about your child's weight and development, consult your pediatrician to put your mind at ease! 

Margo Anderson-Fowler, MD

Dr. Anderson-Fowler enjoys caring for patients of all ages. She has a special interest in the Mind/Body/Spirit connection for health. She tries to understand her patients' family dynamics and how this may affect their health. She feels a physician should be totally engaged with the patient and see him or her as an individual. She believes every person just wants to be heard so she listens carefully to her patients' concerns and tries to offer them the best care possible so they can reach thei ...

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