Many of us find children with chubby cheeks cute. But did you know that too much fat stored in the body may be a sign of improper nutrition? Studies show that nutrition in the early years influences health especially when it comes to increasing the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease in later life.
When does obesity really begin?
Many times, the lifelong battle with obesity had its beginnings in early childhood. Obesity begins when a child's energy or caloric intake is greater than what he needs for growth and activity. How does this exactly come about?
Our sedentary and convenient lifestyles
Today's world focuses on convenience, but sometimes it comes with a heavy price. For example, children who are often given fast food meals tend to eat more fatty food and drink sugar sweetened beverages, which are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Along with a combination of sedentary lifestyle habits:
- - always taking the elevator instead of that flight of stairs
- - taking a ride instead of walking
- - engaging in digital games instead of outdoor play
This way of living leads to a calorie imbalance wherein the energy intake exceeds the amount used for daily activities. As a result, the excess calories are stored in the body as fat. However, recent evidence shows that more than the lack of physical activity, unhealthy feeding practices are a major culprit for obesity.3,4
More isn't always better - it's the right nutrition
As parents, we only want the best for our children. We think that by giving more, our child is better off. Let's take protein as an example, when giving more does not necessarily mean better nutrition for our child! Recent studies show that too much protein in a child's diet can predispose him to obesity later in life which in turn increases his risk for chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.2
What can I do for my child?
Take a good look at the kind of nutrition you are giving your child. His chubby cheeks are not necessarily signs of good nutrition. Think again and choose wisely for him! Start by giving your child a milk drink with the right quality and quantity of protein and help build hid strong nutritional foundation for life!
- Kroke A, Manz F, Kersting M, et al. The DONALD study. History, current status and future perspectives. Eur J Nutr 2004 Feb; 43(1):45-54.
- Koletzko, B. et al. Lower protein in infant formula is associated with lower weight up to 2y: a randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009; 89: 1863-45
- Gardner DS, Hosking J, Metcalf BS, Jeffery AN, Voss LD, Wilkin TJ. Contribution of early weight gain to childhood overweight and metabolic health: a longitudinal study (EarlyBird 36). Pediatrics. 2009;123:e67-73
- Metcalf BS, Hosking J, Jeffery AN, Voss LD, Henley W, Wilkin TJ Fatness leads to inactivity, but inactivity does not lead to fatness: a longitudinal study in children (EarlyBird 45). Arch Dis Child. 2011;96:942-47