August 23, 2006

WHO's On Fat?

I know there's a new study out showing babies are getting fatter. And I can understand the whole difference between "should be" vs "is," and how the WHO's newly calculated "optimal" height-weight percentile charts might be more logical than the CDC's "average" charts.

My real problem turns out to be taking a redefinition of "fat" seriously when it's reported from the land where 90-lb 20-year-olds are getting lipo and botox.

It might not be so cute after all [latimes.com via tmn]
Previously, and from the East Coast: Baby 'too fat' for cover of Cookie Magazine

7 Comments

You obviously live in New York. Try visiting San Antonio. You won't have any trouble believing the direness of the problem. 60% of adults are overweight and 31% obese. The kids follow suit.

[110%, Tim, I'm with you. And the data seems to hold up, but with a headline like that, I know it's only a matter of days before people in West LA start putting babies on diets. -ed.]

I don't know. Our daughter was F-A-T fat, despite consuming nothing at all but breast milk until six months, and even after that, not much solid food. She's never tasted juice, forumla, soy or cow's milk. She's slimming down now that she's walking, but she was comically fat for her entire first year. If we were more trusting of the baby medical industry and they hauled out charts that said our baby was "obese", what would the prescription be? Discontinue breastfeeding and use some Splenda-laced forumla? Let her cry when she says she's hungry?

So why is this "problem" only a problem here, and nowhere else in the world?

[and as you point out, I'm not sure what there is to do about it. It's not like they're telling parents to cut back on feeding, just to be aware. Which creates a nice void to be filled with all kinds of half-informed advice. -ed.]

You should read the article. They say over and over that they don't do any diet modification in the first years. And the charts are made based upon breastfed babies. They try to get the kids to stop growing as quickly although they don't do it until the kid is around 2 years old, and they do it mostly by switching to 1% rather than whole milk. The WHO is very pro-breast feeding.
Their point in releasing the new charts is to show breast-feed babies as the ideal rather than their often heavier formula led counterparts. Their hope is to get more children breast fed by showing some of the negative effects of formula. Obesity being one thing that appears might be linked to forumla (although they're still studying that; obviously not a short term study).

[yeah, the WHO came out with that great pro breastfeeding ad campaign a couple of months back. If the LAT story had a pro-BF/anti-formula angle to it at all, it was buried too deep for me to detect it. The third graf of the article says, "No one suggests that children younger than 2 should be placed on a diet, but health experts are becoming more convinced that future weight problems can take root in the earliest days of life and that baby weight should be monitored in a more rigorous and thoughtful manner." Combined with the headline and new parent anxiety,
I guess my beef is more with how media reports--and the LAT in particular--of science are received and disseminated. At least, that's how it looks from my glass house. -ed.]

I love when lactavists sneak in their subtle jabs...

Tim-

I did read the article actually (well, I skimmed it). My point was that our exclusively breast fed baby would qualify as obese under these new charts, and my question was, what then?

It's crazy to hear this when we are currently trying FATTEN up our formerly preemie 16 month olds. To the point, where one person suggested we replace their whole milk with light cream! We're giving them as much fatty fat fat as possible. butter here, olive oil there. problem is, all this fatty food in the house is probably having an effect on us.

gimme some 1% milk, please!

I think this article is speaking out to that baby momma I saw at target today giving her very plump 6 month old (if that) juice in a bottle. Made me throw up a little in my mouth.

My chubby 6.5 month old thrives on a diet of breastmilk, formula, rice cereal, and vegetables I mash myself. I'm not so worried for her, when she's mobile she'll thin out. But for now, we're loving every single one of her little buddah belly rolls.

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