Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Baby Diet?

That's right. If you have not as yet heard, there are new parents out there so obsessed with being slim that they are putting their babies on, of all things....a baby diet! Recent news stories have exposed this as a possible trend where parents restrict what they feed their babies to prevent them from becoming chubby. Some are doing it out of concern that a chubby baby is not aesthetically pleasing. Yes, one story floating about is about this neurotic ( my description ) father who raves about how "skinny" his infant daughter is. Yet others are restricting their babies intake so their children won't be chubby and then go on to be overweight adults.

Apparently there is reason to be concerned. It seems there was an article that appeared in the journal Pediatrics in March of 2009 regarding a study done by researchers at (ahem) Harvard University that found babies who rapidly gained weight faster than their length increased during their first 6 months were at a marked risk of being obese by the age of three. The study also found that this inordinate rate of early weight gain might be a better prognosticator of future obesity than weight at birth. Now this to me would corroborate the suspicion that obese parents are passing on this genetic programming to their offspring. The question is... is this genetic programming something that got altered or switched on by a lifelong practice of overeating. I suspect that it is. If our metabolism becomes accustomed to a certain way we do things then isn't it possible that it could also influence our genetic make up and ultimately what we pass on to our progeny? I am not a geneticist, of course, but isn't this just more common sense? We've all seen obese parents with similarly obese children. I've always thought that the parents are passing on their penchant for overeating to their children, but now this study from such and august institution as (ahem) Harvard would indicate that there's more to it than, might I say, meets the eye. These children of obese parents apparently have been dealt a disadvantaged hand from birth, because of the genetic programming that has been passed on to them. When you couple that with parents who are still into gorging themselves on a regular basis, you get obese kids. Go figure!

This craziness aside, the American Academy of Pediatrics maintains that a baby's physical and mental development depends on them getting extra fat and calories in the early months of their development. So to put an infant on some whaky baby diet is doing that child a grave disservice and is bordering on criminal in my humble estimation.

I am a firm believer that all babies should be breast fed if at all possible, save for some extreme extenuating circumstance for the life of me I cannot fathom. Good old mothers milk is the best baby diet food because it has everything a newborn needs to grow and develop. It also provides them with protection against disease and prevents them from developing allergies among a host of other indisputable reasons for doing it. This solves the baby diet conundrum before it even gets started. So, parents, please don't make a DOUBLE-DUMB FOOD CHOICE for your kids by subjecting them to these deprivations because of some neurotic notion you might have about your own appearance.

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