Parental feeding, activity behaviors may promote childhood obesity

The Los Angeles Times “Science Now” blog reports that according to a study published in Pediatrics, by the age of two months, many US babies “appear to be taking their first steps on the road to obesity, helped along by parents who may be preoccupied, pushy or uninformed about the care and feeding of babies for optimal health.”

The study “found that in a population of predominantly low-income mothers and infants, two-month-old babies routinely spent long hours either in front of a television or being fed or cared for by a parent watching TV, were frequently put to bed or left to feed themselves with a propped bottle, and rarely got the recommended amount of daily ‘tummy time’ that challenges a baby’s physical development.”

The Fox News website reports that one of the study authors said, “These results from a large population of infants – especially the high rates of television watching – teach us that we must begin obesity prevention even earlier.”

HealthDay reports that according to another study involving some 3,600 children and published in JAMA Pediatrics, “kids who spend more time plunked in front of screens may become unhappier.”

Yet another study, which involved 213 US children and their parents and also published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that “mothers who devote the most effort to monitoring their kids’ exposure to computers and TVs could prevent them from putting on extra pounds.” 

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