Monday, June 29, 2015

New Recommendations on Obesity Prevention in Kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics just issued a new report on how to prevent excessive weight gain in kids. Here are the highlights:


  1. Education and advice are unlikely to be effective. Environmental change and more advanced behavior modification are more effective.
  2. Beverages: eliminate sugary beverages. Limit juice and encourage fruit instead. Water is the ideal beverage for kids to drink. 
  3. Limit foods with high caloric density. (I think they got this terminology slightly wrong. Nuts, for instance, are highly caloric, but are also highly healthy. I think they should have said "limit processed food".)
  4. Children less than 2 years of age should not have any interaction with electronic entertainment/communication (including tablets, phones, TVs). Those older than 2 should be limited to 2 hours. (My thought: Parents might consider doing the same for themselves!)
  5. Kids should be active for 60 or more per day. 
  6. Prevention should start before birth by focusing on healthy weight gain and other practices in pregnancy. (My comment: it is hard to work on "healthy habits" once women are pregnant. It is much more effective to get healthy before getting pregnant.)
Of course, these recommendations are worded as being just focused on pediatricians. But, they really apply to any physician or provider taking care of children. Family physicians have a critical role, as we often take care of the Mother before she comes pregnant, and can help initiate prevention earlier than pediatricians and obstetricians. 

Remember 5-2-1-0 for kids (and families):
5 Fruits/Veggies a Day 
2 or less hours of screen time (for those older than 2)
1 hour of physical activity
0 sugary beverages
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