About 30 years ago, the United States started to enter the obesity epidemic. Today, about 69% of adults and 34% of children are obese. We all know that this a problem; we need a solution that is both effective and practical. The solution begins with the next generation- aka YOUR children. Not only do parents want healthy babies that have a chance to live an energetic, high-quality life, but the obesity epidemic depends on the obesity path of the upcoming generations. If you are a mom-to-be or plan on being one, you may find this article helpful on keeping your child as healthy as can be.

Early Life Correlation to Obesity

The in-utero environment, along with the first two years of life, play a significant role in the development of obesity later in life. Although this may sound a bit nerve-racking, we can also look at this as a huge opportunity. We have a significant chance to greatly improve the quality of our children’s lives by the environment that we provide for them. Let’s take a look at the risks and solutions for obesity development in children early in life.

Early Life Risks for Obesity

Both the paternal and maternal components contribute to obesity risk in their offspring. Many studies have been done on women specifically. It has been found that weight, obesity, and nutritional status play a significant role in obesity development in the offspring. Additionally, it has been found that the paternal component of the DNA in the offspring plays a significant role in the metabolism of the offspring.

The in utero environment is also highly important in decreasing the child’s risk for obesity later in life. This is because this environment essentially gives the child a “foreshadowing” of what the future environment will be like. Eating behavior, obesity, and glucose tolerance are all introduced to the child during pregnancy. These factors can result in a child being more likely to develop diabetes or obesity. Gestational Diabetes can also contribute to an increased risk. There are many risks out there that can sound debilitating to any future parents. However, mothers and fathers can both take action to help make sure that they have healthy offspring.

Solutions For Decreasing Obesity in Early Life Stages

A light walk every day can be extremely helpful!

Daily Moderate Physical Activity: Studies show that pregnant women who partake in daily physical exercise (moderate in level) gave birth to babies with a lower body fat percentage. This means that the child has a lower risk of developing obesity or obesity-related diseases later in life.

Get to a Healthy Weight: Women who are obese have a lower chance of getting pregnant. But those who are able to get pregnant increase the risk of their offspring developing obesity later in life. This is a fabulous time in your life to take control! An individualized medical weight loss plan is best for acheiving your goals and keeping your duture child safe. Download our FREE guide here and learn how Healthful Life MD can provide that individualized and successful approach.

Breast Feeding vs. Formula: Some will say that if you give your child formula rather than your own breast milk that your child has an increased risk for obesity. The studies are inconclusive on this statement. The best thing that a mother can do is give their baby what works best for them! Mothers should do what allows them to have a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep: It is essential that your child receives proper sleep early in life. Not only does this teach them healthy sleeping patterns, but it provides a healthier environment. Studies show that children who receive insufficient sleep during the first few years of life significantly increase their risk for diabetes and obesity. Be sure that your child has the environment to get the sleep that he or she needs.

Limit the TV: IT has been found that children or babies that watch TV are more prone to have a sedentary lifestyle later on. Watching the television is fine every once and while, but make sure that your child isn’t constantly surrounded by digital media. Reading a book or playing in the sun are both great, healthy alternatives! Creating the habit of an active lifestyle early on can be very beneficial. 

Exhibit Healthy Eating Patterns: Children tend to replicate the eating patterns of their parents, mainly because this is what they see on a daily basis. By eating healthy on a consistent basis, your child will likely exhibit similar patterns later in their life.

Knowing that you can support your child in having a healthy life is empowering. You can provide a healthy and beautiful foundation for your children by following these steps. If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Abby today. She can help you with getting the best action plan possible for your unique needs and family goals.