Friday, March 5, 2010

Childhood Obesity Prevention: Start before Pregnancy

A new study in Pediatrics highlights some of the risk factors for childhood obesity that begin during pregnancy or the two first years of life:

  • depression during pregnancy
  • more rapid weight gain during first 6 months of life
  • introduction to solid foods before 4 months
  • more restrictive feeding practices
  • television sets in a toddler's room after 2

There are other risk factors during and even before pregnancy that increases a baby's risk of being overweight:

  • Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy
  • Not gaining enough weight--or gaining too much weight during pregnancy
  • Having gestational diabetes--or abnormal blood glucose levels during pregnancy
I believe that to really halt childhood obesity, we need to start before pregnancy--and at the very least early pregnancy. Women often don't see their health care provider right when they learn they are pregnant. This is a missed opportunity for education about health habits and weight gain, that could help a mom have a healthier pregnancy and a smaller chance of a newborn who will grow up to be overweight.

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