By now we all know that childhood obesity is a nationwide crisis -- it's the focus of Parenting's new Fit Generation initiative and a recent Newsweek cover story. But it seems like every week, new research comes out with more facts and figures on how and why the obesity crisis came to be -- and, most importantly, what we can do to fix it. Here's a look at this week's big news on childhood obesity:
Common thinking says that a big baby is a healthy baby -- and that birth weight doesn't necessarily predict adult weight anyway, right? Not quite. The New York Times article quotes a study that found childhood BMI relates to infant weight gain; the more rapid, the higher the childhood BMI. Other risk factors that can contribute to childhood obesity: babies getting less than 12 hours of sleep and watching two or more hours of TV a day, and babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy (despite usually being underweight at birth).
This Princeton study found that rats who consumed high-fructose corn syrup gained "significantly more" weight than those who ate regular table sugar -- even though both had a similar overall calorie intake. Since the stuff is an ingredient in a surprising number of foods -- everything from cereal to cough syrup -- your kids may be consuming more of it than you realize.
It seems like childhood obesity has only recently become a hot-button issue, but new research suggests that it goes back -- way back. Academics in a Cornell University-led study analyzed 52 renditions of The Last Supper, and found that portion sizes of the main dish on the table increased about 70% over time, and the plate sizes 65%. Sound familiar?
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