With the way so many kids raid the refrigerator and gulp down whatever contents may be found there, parents may be tempted to throw up their hands about youngsters’ eating habits. But keep up the good fight, moms, dads, and other grownups: Research increasingly points to childhood─even the time in the womb or shortly thereafter─as a critical periods in combating obesity, and the lifelong ills it can cause. And there may be a surprising skill that youngsters can learn that also can boost their lifelong nutrition and health.
The New York Times, in two recent health features, has reported on the research on the importance of prenatal, early, and childhood efforts to combat obesity. The paper cites experts and studies that say, for example, that kids can be hampered for life by starting out overweight, adding excess fat cells that long will be tough to shed.
The paper says studies show that expectant moms who carry excess weight don’t benefit their kids. As an expert explains: “Excessive weight gain during pregnancy predicts not just the baby’s birth weight but also the likelihood of obesity in middle childhood.” Pops also should mind their weight, even before their kids are born, as studies indicate that “Being heavy alters DNA in the father’s sperm that changes gene expression and can be passed down to the next generation.”