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Policies that promote healthy eating, activity and sleep are needed to curb obesity in infants, toddlers and preschoolers
Date:6/23/2011

tipronged approach that includes identifying when young children show signs of excess weight, promoting healthy eating, increasing physical activity, and ensuring adequate sleep.

Identifying At-Risk Children

Studies show that many parents do not understand the consequences of excess weight in infants and young children or are not concerned about early excess weight or obesity, the committee found. Health professionals should measure infants' weight and length and the body mass index of young children as a standard procedure at every well-child visit. They should identify children at risk for obesity and discuss with parents their children's measurements and the risks linked to excess weight.

Sufficient Sleep

Evidence points to a relationship between insufficient sleep and obesity. Data indicate that over the past two decades there has been an overall decrease in the amount of sleep infants and children get, with the most pronounced declines among children less than 3 years old. Regulatory agencies should require child care providers to promote healthy sleep durations in their facilities, the report recommends. Pediatricians, early childhood educators, and other professionals who work with parents need to be trained to counsel them about age-appropriate sleep times and good sleep habits.

Physically Active Play and Sedentary Activities

Agencies that regulate child care facilities should require child care providers and early childhood educators to create opportunities and environments that encourage infants, toddlers, and preschoolers to be physically active thoughout the day, the committee said. It is up to regulatory agencies to determine appropriate standards, but potential actions child care providers could take to achieve this include engaging children in physically active play for a cumulative average of at least 15 minutes per hour spent in care, joining children in their acti
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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