Reducing Risk of Childhood Obesity Starts Very, Very Early

A new report finds combating childhood obesity may start in the womb. Health experts and even First Lady Michelle Obama agree that’s why it’s important to start a pregnancy at a healthy weight and to start kids off on the right path. The study, performed by the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and appearing in the journal Diabetes Care, also found children whose mothers developed diabetes while pregnant had a greater chance of being overweight by age eleven.

Dr. Howard Zisser, of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara, says his group supports the study’s recommendation that pregnant women maintain a healthy weight.

“The advice here is it’s best to be at an optimal weight before getting pregnant. From the study, it appears that the women who were overweight during pregnancy tended to have overweight babies and overweight children.”

Some of the highest childhood obesity rates in California are in Los Angeles County where more than one in five children is obese. Dr. Elaine Batchlor, with L.A. Care Health Plan, says that’s why it’s important to start kids off on the right path.

“One of the ways of thinking about it is we are looking at the first generation of children in a long time that could have a shorter life span than their parents because of the impact of obesity and related illnesses.”

First Lady Obama has launched an action plan to combat childhood obesity. Her number-one recommendation is the importance of starting a pregnancy at a healthy weight and maintaining a healthy weight throughout. Other ways to limit childhood obesity is for mothers to breastfeed for at least six months and not start babies on solid foods before four months.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA

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