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Obesity and our children

Where are we in our fight against the “war on childhood obesity” in the United States? According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, between 16% and 33% of children and teenagers are obese. Obesity increases the risk of suffering from chronic conditions and illnesses, such as heart disease. Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama has brought the spotlight back onto this issue, giving it a fresh perspective. The first step in preventing, and even reversing, this disturbing health crisis is in publicizing it or increasing awareness through media venues, campaigns, partnerships and alliances. The goal of the “Let’s Move” campaign is to improve nutrition and reduce childhood obesity. As a mom and a very prominent public figure, Michelle Obama realizes that with power comes a responsibility to make a difference through awareness and action. Most Americans don’t realize that obesity is the most common form of malnutrition in the United States today.

Childhood Obesity: “Let’s Move” Accomplishments

What has “Let’s Move” accomplished to defeat childhood obesity? Many large corporations and non-profit organizations have come forward, willing to donate time, money and resources to this cause. The National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and Disney have all teamed up with “Let’s Move” to create public service announcements (PSAs). These PSAs feature actors and athletes, who inspire kids to sign up for team sports and get active.

Raising healthier kids is no small undertaking. Luckily there are plenty of resources available, national and local, on- and off-line such as your state’s department of health services. Act now, act quickly. Start slowly.


1. Keep plenty of healthy foods in your home for quick snacks and meals, such as low- or non-fat yogurt, whole-grain crackers, fruits and vegetables and lean meats.

2. Play with your children, in and/or outdoors. Exercise reduces the risk for childhood and adolescent obesity.

3. Set an example. Live healthfully and show your child how it is done.

Feed your infant like Dr. Spock!

What every mom ought to know about introducing her infant to solid foods

In thinking about this topic, I came to the conclusion that, when push comes to shove and words must be few, one CAN break it down to the essentials and STILL be comprehensive. Though it would be easy to ramble on, book-style…luckily, there are useful resources, tools and practical tips that you can use for support and information. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert, or anybody other than yourself, to do it right.

When to do it

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for at least six months, though you can introduce solids any time between 4 and 6 months if your baby is ready. And there are specific benchmarks that help you to know if your infant is ready, including: head control (your baby needs to be able to keep his head in a steady, upright position), sitting well when supported and significant weight gain (usually double the birth weight).

How to do it

A good rule of thumb is to start your infant on rice cereal. After nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, give him one or two teaspoons of dry cereal mixed with enough formula or breast milk to make a semi-liquid. Use a rubber-tipped spoon when you feed your baby to avoid gum injury. Shoot for one feeding daily.

Use the following three steps as a transition guideline:
1. Semi-liquid cereals2. Strained or mashed fruits and vegetables3. Finely chopped table foods, including meat and other protein sources


What to feed ‘em

In addition to breast milk or iron fortified formula, good foods to start your baby on include sweet potatoes, squash, applesauce, bananas, carrots, oatmeal, peaches, pears and small amounts of protein-rich foods (such as poultry and cottage cheese). All food should be strained or mushy at this stage your baby will press the food against the top of his mouth and then swallow.


    • Try to provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. Use sweets, salts, and fats in moderation.
    • Have a set place for eating (optimal spot is in the highchair at the table without distractions).
    • Feed your infant pieces of foods smaller than his airway to avoid choking.



  • Feed your child honey because it can cause botulism in babies under a year old.
  • Avoid commonly allergenic foods, such as peanut butter, cows’ milk, shellfish and egg whites for at least a year.

To access more information on introducing solid foods/feeding your infant (including additional benchmarks that indicate readiness to make the transition to solid foods) and much more about your baby’s health, growth and development visit the Baby Center or (for wholesome baby-friendly recipes) check out Wholesome Baby Food. These websites host online community centers for new parents to offer support and practical advice to one another on a variety of topics as well.


“Solid foods cannot provide all of the nutrients your baby needs, so continue to breast or bottle feeding during the first year of life. By around 8 months he should be eating solid food three times a day.”