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Is thin in, even for infants?

Posted by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:29 PM
  • 43 Replies

With obesity rates among children doubling in the past two decades, more and more parents are putting their babies on diets, doctors say.

Pudgy cheeks that once drew "ooohs and aaahs" are eliciting "ughs" from some parents who have struggled with their own weight issues and fear their children will toddle along the same path.

"I have seen parents putting their infant and 1 year old on diets because of history in one parent or another," said Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, who chairs the nutrition committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is chief of neonatology at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

Jodi Hasan is concerned about her daughter's weight because Hasan herself has battled weight problems her whole life.

She carefully manages Maya's diet; well-balanced with fruit and vegetables, and no junk food. Maya is in the 25th percentile for weight for her age and her mother admitted she was unconcerned when the baby's most recent checkup showed she had not gained weight. Her doctor says she is healthy.

"I don't want her to have any of the problems that I had: the self-consciousness, health issues," Hasan said. "I want her to have good self-esteem."

The brouhaha about baby fat was the subject of a recent "Saturday Night Live" skit that poked fun at parents who will stop at nothing to give their baby the perfect body. The "SNL" spoof asked viewers, "Do you have a fat baby? That's why you need Baby Spanx: In no time, your baby will go from flab to fab."

The joke is not far from the truth in many new families, said Dr. Blair Hammond, a pediatrician at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

"There's some parents who are very pleased when their children are thin," Hammond said. "A lot of fathers, even, they're like, 'Yes, my daughter's thin,' when the daughter's like 5 or 6 months old."

An extreme case made headlines recently in Washington state, where parents Britainny and Sam Labberton were convicted of starving their baby out of fear she would become "fat" like her father.

Criminal mistreatment charges were brought after the infant gained just 1 pound in her first two months of life and her bottle was found to contain traces of laxatives. Court documents showed that after the infant was placed in foster care and gained weight, her mother's reaction was, "Oh my God, she's fat … I have a fat baby."

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I know childhood obesity is on the rise and all, but going overboard to the opposite extreme is just as bad, if not worse. 


by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:29 PM
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Replies (1-10):
katzmeow726
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:32 PM
This article is heartbreaking to read. That said, I am happy to see that my dd is on the very slender side, but that comes from her daddy, who is very thin lol
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MamaScorpio88
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:33 PM

OMFG

Are you serious? Is this serious?!

My son is a chunkster. I love it. He is one, and when I weighed him at the grocery store (fruit weigher things, it's funny!) it said 25 lbs. He is short, and leads with his tummy

I could not even imagine putting his chunky butt on a diet. That is disgusting

AmmuJSE
by Ammu on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:34 PM

You know what. My kids are small, have always been small (except my middle, he seems to be the only one on the charts). 

Do you know I cried when my now 6 yr old made the charts and was at the 3% for weight when he turned 4? 

My 4 yr old & 6 yr old are 1 inch apart & 2lbs apart. People always ask if they are twins and get shocked when I say no, actually they are 25 months apart. 

To parents that are not feeding their kids because of "weight concerns" it's baby fat, let them have it. If your so worried they will be fat when they are older, make sure they are active and eat healthy.

I'm fat, I have been since I was about 8-9 yrs old. I was molested as a child and I turned to food. My mom didn't "catch it" until I finished a loaf of bread when I was 11 by eating toast, a whole loaf of bread in an afternoon. I know I have food issues, but I just cannot seem to give them up no matter how hard I try.

I think we as parents need to teach our kids the right way to eat food and the wrong way......if we do it correctly, they will choose the right way and HOPEFULLY obesity won't be as huge as a problem in the future....... 

Redteux
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:39 PM

This makes me want to vomit myself.

I would love nothing more than to have my 6 yr old twins break 40 lbs.

elly25
by Member on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:49 PM

 That's  a sad article.

 My son is eight years old and just over 65lbs. He's almost as tall as I am (just passed my boobs). My daughter is almost three (3yrs old on Christmas day) and is 45lbs. Is almost to my belly button in height (I'm 5'4"). Both of my children are happy and healthy.

lizzeh
by Member on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:58 PM

My daughter up until about 18 months old was aways in the 95th percentile for weight and height. Then she kind of stayed at the same weight for a little while. Then she went from being from the 95th percentiles to being 50th to both height and weight. Her four year appointment she was 50th for weight and 75th for height. I think she's fine. 

I think people take too much stock into those percentiles. If they are in the 95th percentile as a baby it doesn't mean they will be when they are older.

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:59 PM

 Babies and toddlers are chunky.  They loose that "baby fat" when they start running around and getting taller. 

 Babies and young children NEED fat. They need the fat for proper brain development. 

 I worry more about my children being prone to diabetes (type 2) since it runs in my family.  I watch their diet and food intake(4 yr old is nomming on a broccoli stalk right now) for health reasons, not looks.  A sensible diet is just that. Sensible. Not allowing any "junk" or foods with fat is not sensible.

40isfun
by Christi on Dec. 9, 2010 at 7:01 PM

I think that is really sad.  I remember someone I know doing just the opposite.  When her baby was an infant, she forced her to eat all of her food.  The baby would close it's mouth and turn away and she would make her eat anyway.  Needless to say the child is a fat child.  I think that's child abuse.

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Dec. 9, 2010 at 7:13 PM

 I saw a report of this on tv. Its sad, really, really sad that parents would limit consumption of formula and or any other food because they are worried about their baby being fat.

To me, child services needs to step in and make sure these parents learn how to make good food decisions and help them with their own food issues so as to not mess up their children with their own crap. (Im not saying step in and take the child/ren away, but to help the parents be better parents)

wulfbourne
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 8:03 PM


Quoting muslimahpj:

 I saw a report of this on tv. Its sad, really, really sad that parents would limit consumption of formula and or any other food because they are worried about their baby being fat.

To me, child services needs to step in and make sure these parents learn how to make good food decisions and help them with their own food issues so as to not mess up their children with their own crap. (Im not saying step in and take the child/ren away, but to help the parents be better parents)

I wanted to highlight that point.  I don't think most of these parents want to hurt their kids.  They seem like they are trying to help them in a sick sort of way.  There is such a push about stopping childhood obesity that it seems to have pushed to the opposite extreme for some parents.  I believe their actions come from a place of worry that for many can be eased by better information. 

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