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Does obesity pose a health risk to children?
Babies and toddlers look very cute and adorable when they are podgy and plump, don’t they? Since I can remember we’ve been made to believe that the fatter your baby the healthier he/she is. This theory however has become quite controversial and some studies have shown that if your baby bridges on obesity then in the future he/she could suffer from some serious health problems.
We spoke to Dr Jog about obesity and the risk factor involved in babies and toddlers. “Chubby does not mean that the baby is necessarily healthy,” said Dr Jog,“ In fact, babies with big heads might look amazingly adorable but the fact remains that they could be suffering from a deficiency of Vitamin D”. He also said that the signs which a pediatrician looks for in babies are wide wrists, large heads and the texture and color of their skin.

Toddler Toddler
After breast feeding for six months, Mrs Purna Dixit realized that her baby had really become healthy and the complexion of her child had also improved remarkably. The baby had become almost two shades lighter. Her mother–in–law would be so happy to see a such a fair child, she thought to herself. But was the baby really healthy? Mrs Dixit could not be more wrong. The truth is that only giving your child milk for a long period and that too in its growing up years is very wrong. It is a myth that milk is a complete diet, and in thinking that way, one can actually make one’s children anemic. That is what had happened to Mrs Dixit’s child, the color of the skin was only becoming fairer according to her. The child in actuality was turning pale due to lack of proper nutrition. Dr Jog also states that, “They feel that their children have become fair but it is only anemia, top milk too lacks in Vitamin D and iron. Thus, neither breast nor top milk can suffice the nutritional requirements completely”.

“The baby should be 50 cms at birth and from then on grow regularly. There is a growth chart by which we can examine and further determine if the baby is healthy and normal. If the baby has been gaining weight and is not gaining enough height, only then you have a problem”, says Dr Jog. If the baby is fed a balanced diet, then there would be no such complications. He also says that the first two years are very important in nutritional terms. If the height remains stunted then the process is irreversible. Dr Jog further states, “Keeping all this factors in mind one should always remember that the baby’s fullest potential should be reached at this time”.
Dr Zuberi, a well known and reputed pediatrician in Pune says, the statement that obese babies can eventually suffer from health problems is true, however, the ratio of this happening is almost negligible. “He says there is no need for alarm because only if there is a 30 per cent predisposition on the standard deviation on the growth chart, can a baby be called obese or in some case anorexic.”

“There are some very serious problems involved in babies who are overweight”, says Dr Zuberi. Few of them have an underlying endocrine problem which could involve a condition of tumors. Also, there is a risk of it affecting the central nervous system. These are, however, extreme cases and not all overweight babies face such risks.
Thus, the end result would be that eventually as a parent it would be up to you to follow and believe what you would want to. It seems that it is a unanimous decision of all doctors however that nutrition in the formative years should be the focus. it can be the sole determinant in shaping your baby’s health in the future years. Therefore follow what you think right, but do not follow age old myths blindly. Try and study them a little, your baby’s life could depend on it.