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Baby Fat, High Fructose Corn Syrup and The Last Supper

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:

Baby Fat May Not Be So Cute After All

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).

A Sweet Problem: Princeton University Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Leads to Weight Gain

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.

Artists Reflect Course of Obesity with Expanding Portions in The Last Supper

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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