Here is a scary statistic – one in five children is obese in the United States. A new report by the Institute of Medicine, which is an independent, nonprofit organization has some great advice for not only parents but our government. This report includes advice on kids’ nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Of course, high on the list of advice is to limit television and computer use, encouraging infants and young children in preschool and child care to spend more time in physically active play, and requiring child care providers to promote healthy sleeping practices are some of the actions needed to curb high rates of obesity among America’s youngest children, says a new report from the IOM.
The report recommends steps that should be taken by child care centers, preschools, pediatricians’ offices, federal nutrition programs, and other facilities and programs that shape children’s activities and behaviors. Although the recommendations are directed to policymakers and health care and child care providers, these professionals can counsel and support parents in promoting healthy habits in the home as well, said the committee that wrote the report
Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies
This starts with Healthcare providers and they suggest that a child should measure and record weight and length or height in a standardized way, plotted on World Health Organization growth charts (ages 0-23 months) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts (ages 24-59 months), as part of every well-child visit. They also suggest that Healthcare professionals start measuring a childs BMI.
When it comes to exercise, the recommendation is even for infants to be physically active throughout the day. Daily “tummy time”, and allowing infants to explore the outdoors with supervision is key. There is also a huge push for us as parents to ask childcare facilities to limit the use of baby swings and bouncy chairs and instead spend that time engaging with the children. In the toddler and preschool category, the suggestion is for moderate physical activity at least 15 minutes per hour and that this be outdoors whenever possible.
The last set of recommendations are about Healthy Eating. We must all be most aware of the portion sizes and make children consume a healthy diet. The Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should establish dietary guidelines for children from birth to age two years in future releases of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. We all know that the price of eating healthy is much higher than that of junk food. This report calls for a push on government agencies to promote access to affordable healthy food for infants and children in all neighborhoods including low income areas. Be sure the check out the new guidelines for the New Food Pyramid. For Food News and organic food tips check out our site