Childhood Obesity Begins at PregnancyJulie Kennel | May 11, 2010
When is it appropriate to worry about your child’s risk for obesity? During adolescence? Or toddler years? Or when solid foods are introduced? First Lady Michelle Obama, released a report from an expert panel today that says awareness should begin with pregnancy. A woman’s weight before she becomes pregnant and her weight gain during pregnancy are two of the most important factors that determine, before a child is born, whether he or she will become obese. Studies find that more than half of obese children become overweight before the age of 2.
Pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant? Here are the guidelines for pregnancy weight gain, based on a woman’s BMI (body mass index) before becoming pregnant with one baby (see here for having multiples):
- Underweight (BMI <18.5): Gain 28-40 pounds
- Normal weight (19-24.9): Gain 25-35 pounds
- Overweight(25-29.9): Gain 15-25 pounds
- Obese(>30): Gain 11-20 pounds
Breast-feeding after birth also helps, as studies have found that children fed that way are 22 percent less likely to become obese.
The report, which has over 70 recommendations, calls for action to help women, men, and children have healthy eating and physical activity habits. The report wants restaurants to consider portion sizes and post more calorie information. Other recommendations include updated federal nutritional standards for meals served at school; more school-based nutrition education; and incentives to attract supermarkets to underserved areas.