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

eight times a day, on average, rather than seven and "who were less sensitive in reading their baby's satiety cues," Worobey said, had babies who gained more weight between ages 6 and 12 months. The findings were reported in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

One solution, he said, is for parents to pay closer attention to their baby's cues, asking their pediatrician for help if they aren't certain how to read those cues.

"Pulling the head away from the bottle is the infant's way to signal, 'Hey, I don't want to do this anymore,'" Worobey said. But the cue is often not noticed.

One way to remedy that, he suggests, is for parents to avoid feeding their infants while watching television. "You may be paying more attention to the TV," he said. "It's better to make it one-on-one time."

There could be cultural myths at work, too, he said, with some cultures still believing that a chubby baby is a healthy baby.

Taveras urged parents to check in often about weight with their infant's pediatrician. With about four "well-baby" visits in the first six months, parents should remember to ask each time about their child's weight. "They should discuss with their clinician how their child is growing," she said.

But the parental link to youngsters' weight might start well before birth, perhaps even before pregnancy.

Reporting in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, researchers found that women who start pregnancy at a normal weight but gain more than 25 to 35 pounds increase their child's risk for being overweight at age 3.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more on overweight and obese kids.



SOURCES: Elsie Taveras, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, pediatrics, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim
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