The preliminary findings of a 2010 study regarding the eating habits of toddlers is not just depressing – it’s downright frightening. The study was a telephone survey to 3,000 parents with children. Parents were asked about what their child ate that day. Here is sample of some of the results:
- 1/3 of the children under 2 years old consumed no fruits or vegetables.
- 9% of children 9-11 months old ate fries at least once per day. For those 19-24 months old, more than 20% had fries daily.
- Hot dogs, sausage and bacon were daily staples for many children – 7% in the 9-to-11 month group, and 25% in the 19-24 month old range.
- The median daily caloric intake for children 7- 24 months old was 20-30% more than the recommended daily value.
The issue of obesity is becoming such a major issue with children that some researchers predict that today’s children will be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents.
What can you do to change these statistics?
- Half of your child’s plate should be vegetables and fruit. Once in a while, french fries are OK, but they should not be a daily staple.
- Do not introduce hot dogs, sausages, or bacon until your children are at least 2 years old. There are many foods just as simple to prepare that are healthier.
- Offer water during the day to quench thirst, not juice.
- Watch serving sizes. Children are not adults. Make sure their portions are small.
- Talk to other parents about healthy eating, especially those who may need some help.