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Want Leaner Kids? Parents May Need to Toe the Line
Date:10/11/2009

Health experts say much can be done to keep weight in check,,

SUNDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- It's a trend that has health experts worried: Young kids are becoming increasingly oversized -- leading, they fear, to overweight teens and, ultimately, overweight adults with health problems.

But parents could be poised to do something about this. After all, some experts contend, parents are part of the problem.

"Parents might be contributing to the overweight epidemic," said Dr. Elsie Taveras, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Medical School, who has researched the issue.

They do so unwittingly, of course, Taveras said. And the point is not to make parents feel guilty about contributing to their children's weight problems, she said, but to get the word out because the trend is headed in the wrong direction.

Today in the United States, infants up to 6 months old are 59 percent more likely to be overweight than were babies 20 years ago, according to a study published in Obesity.

In her research, Taveras discovered that infants who gain weight quickly early in life face weight problems by the time they're toddlers.

"What we found was, those children who gained more weight and gained it more quickly in the first six months of life had a higher risk of obesity when they were 3 years old," Taveras said. Her study was reported in Pediatrics.

The way parents feed their infants might play a role in this weight gain, another study found.

John Worobey, a professor and chairman of the nutritional sciences department at Rutgers University in New Jersey, evaluated the behavior of mothers as they fed their babies. His team followed 96 mother-child pairs, asking the mothers questions -- such as what they did when their babies got fussy -- and watching them feed their children formula.

Mothers who fed their babies
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