On the lines of a recent study, experts have issued a warning to parents saying that they might be feeding their babies much more than what they actually need, which could lead to their children becoming overweight.
According to the study conducted, the food which overweight children between 4 and 18 months eat and the food which healthy weight children eat is similar, but, the only difference is that overweight children consume larger portions. The report prepared by the University College London said that parents are not aware of how much young children should eat or the dangers of being overweight. The guidelines for feeding children should be outlined in a better manner, the report added.
The data from a recent survey conducted in UK examined the eating diaries of 2,564 children, which were maintained by parents. The diaries focussed on what children ate, how often they eat and the size of their portions of food.
The data was used by researchers to compare the eating habits of overweight and healthy weight children and it helped in coming up with the finding that overweight children consumed larger portions of meals than the healthy weight children. (141 calories versus 130 calories).
The author of the report, Hayley Syrad, from University College London, said, “The research suggests eating frequency is having no impact on weight and it’s not that parents of larger children are giving them an extra Mars bar or apple – it’s that their portions are bigger.”
According to the researchers, there was 9% higher risk of becoming overweight or obese for every extra 24 calories consumed during each meal. Some parents tend to overfeed their children under the misconception that their children might become chubby, the author of the report said.
According to Syrad, “We know that even birth weight tracks into later life. If children are overweight when they are under two it tracks into adulthood.A bigger baby is likely to be a bigger child and then a bigger adult.”
Highlighting the responsibility of the parents, Judy More, a nutritionist and paediatric dietician, said that some parents tend to overfeed their babies and young children due to the fear of them being underfed. She said that it is the responsibility of the parents to make their children eat until they are full and that they should not force their children to finish everything on their plates. The guidelines for eating for infants and young children should be drawn out specifically to cater to the smaller age ranges.