Institute of Medicine says childhood obesity prevention needs to start after birth

IOM advises less TV time for kids, phtot via Flickr Commons

According to the Institute of Medicine, almost one in ten infants and toddlers under the age of 2 are overweight and one in five children between ages of 2 and 5 are overweight or obese leading the IOM to advise that childhood obesity prevention should start after birth.

Leann Birch, who served as the chair on the IOM committee, explained “What happens early in children’s development has an impact on later health…Rapid weight gain and obesity early can increase risk of obesity and chronic disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes later in life.”

The Institute of Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization that gives advice to decision makers, gave advice on kids’ nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviors. While the target audience was policymakers, health care providers or child care providers, many of its points are applicable to parents.

Recommendations included monitoring the child’s height and weight at every pediatric visit, encouraging toddlers and preschool children to be physically active throughout the day, limiting children’s sitting or standing time to no more than 30 minutes at a time, having kids spend less time in front of a TV, feeding children a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low or non-fat dairy that are age-appropriate and in healthy portions, and encouraging sleep duration that is age appropriate (because a lack of sleep is a risk factor for obesity).

Source: CNN Health