According to a BBC news article many parents are feeding their infants far too much food which could lead to them being obese in later life. A research study carried out by The University College, London found that although overweight children between four and eighteen months ate similar types of food to children of a healthy weight, the portion sizes that they had were too large. They recommended that there were more guidelines to help parents know how much food that they should be giving to their children.
One of the authors of the report; Haylet Syrad explained that it was not how often a child ate or the type of food that they were eating that seemed to be the problem, but the amount of food that they were eating.
This has interesting implications for adult diets too. It may be that we feel that we are having a healthy diet, eating healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, low fat things etc, but it may be that we are just eating too much. This could imply that simply choosing to eat ‘healthily’ may not be enough to help us to lose weight but that actually counting calories could really help, so that we know that we are getting the portion sizes right.
Another interesting thought that came out form the study was that many parents felt that it was healthy for their babies to be chubby and therefore they did not think that what they were feeding them mattered. However, eating habits started as children do influence adult eating patterns and therefore it is important to get it right. Obviously parents have a lot to deal with and there can be a lot of guilt with regards to doing the best for your child. Try not to stress about what you are doing but just take care to make sure that your child is given an appropriate amount of food to satisfy them without offering them so much that they get used to over eating and therefore start to put on excess weight. If you have any concerns then speak to your GP or health visitor to get help as to how much you should be giving to your child.