Critical Age for Childhood Weight Gain

New research reveals a critical period when a child is at risk of becoming obese. A study from Columbia University Medical Center found that during the ages of 1-3 years, children are at risk of gaining significant weight. The researchers reviewed growth charts of over 1,700 children in New York City between the ages of one through five. They found that the rate of being overweight increased significantly with each year of age, with the biggest gains between ages of one and three years.

Lead author of the study and attending pediatrician, Melissa Glassman warns that it's during these years that children begin to develop eating habits and food preferences. Parents need to play an active role in incorporating a balanced diet and be aware of the types of food to which children have access.

It may take multiple attempts to offer new foods to children, so parents must undertake meal times with patience and determination to instill essential eating habits. These finding have gotten the attention of pediatricians who believe that intervention is necessary to prevent childhood obesity during these crucial years.

 Parents should pursue healthy eating routines of their own because children observe and model their behavior after them. With America's obesity epidemic, understanding the causes of childhood obesity is critical.


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