Want to know which kids are going to be obese in middle school?
Take a look at 5-year-olds in preschool and you have a good chance to foretell. In a study published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers show that about half the children who are obese in eight grade were overweight in preschool. Overweight 5-year-olds were four times as likely as normal-weight children to become obese!
What are the implications for parents?
Nutrition habits are formed during infancy. It is important to create the right ones from the onset. Innocent decisions such as apple juice in a baby bottle can mean a lifelong habit of sugary drink consumption. Settling for kiddie meal when going out instead of exposing a child to a wide variety of foods is also setting her up for failure.
That said, if your young child is overweight, it does not automatically mean he will be obese. Only half the overweight 5-year-olds became obese by eighth grade. If your preschooler is overweight, seek professional advice. The worst thing to do is to shame your child or berate him. In most cases, kids should not go on weight loss diets, but rather grow into their weight through proper nutrition and exercise. As these are formative years, course corrections can be made. It’s important that you as a parent will set the right example. You can’t expect your kid to drink water while you are sipping on a diet cola.