What did I learn this week?

This is news…?

I guess it is for some people. Apparently there is mounting evidence confirming that overweight babies and toddlers are at an increased risk for obesity later in life. There is definitely a difference between having a toddler who still carries “baby fat” and one who is overweight, but most parents of these children seem to have a hard time telling the difference. I guess no one wants to think of their child as overweight, but it seems to me that setting a proper diet (ie low in sugary treats and junk food) is easier when the child is a toddler rather than when they are 10 or 12 years old and clearly past the “baby fat” stage of life.

When I was at Hillside Centre last week with C and my mom and dad, we ate our (home packed) lunch in the food court and sat at a table next to a mom with a baby and a little girl about C’s age. The little girl was eating a McD’s hamburger and fries for lunch! Now, aside from my own admittedly political issues with that particular establishment, I think anyone can agree that it does not exactly serve nutritious food.

When I see two year olds scarfing down fries, soda, chips, and candy, I do hope that this is only an occaisional thing that their parents are feeding them. However, I also see lots of parents giving toddlers, and even babies, things like giant sippy cups full of undiluted apple juice, artificially flavoured mini yogurts full of sugar (whether refined or fruit derived), and other processed foods full of weird ingredients that you would never add to food you made yourself.

This latter group probably thinks that there is nothing wrong with this because they don’t think of this kind of food as “junk” food. But, just because it has some nutritional value, does not mean that outweighs the high sugar, sodium, and artificial additive content. Maybe they think that it is only a little bit, so what can the harm be? They seem to forget the cumulative effect of feeding it to a little tiny person on a regular basis.

So goes my thinking also about choosing organic foods whenever possible. That is, despite what people may think, there is actually a health issue there and not just a geopolitical one. But, I shall leave that issue for another time…

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