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9 in 10 moms see overweight toddlers as normal
May 7th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

9 in 10 moms see overweight toddlers as normal

A mother's love usually makes for healthy and happy children, but in some cases it may be contributing to childhood obesity, a new study suggests.

In the study, researchers presented 281 mothers with cartoon drawings of toddlers ranging in size from scrawny to plump, and asked them to select the drawing that most closely resembled their child.

Nearly 70% of the women misjudged their toddler's body size, but the rate was much higher among the mothers of overweight children. Ninety-four percent of those mothers identified their child's size as being in the normal range, the study found.

Previous studies in older children have produced similar results. The new research, published this week in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, is the first to show widespread misperceptions of body size among the parents of toddlers.

Health.com: Is it baby fat or obesity?

As rates of overweight and obesity hover near historic highs, parents' views of what constitutes a normal, healthy weight may be skewed, says lead author Erin R. Hager, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in Baltimore.

The fact that chunky thighs and dimpled knees are widely seen as a sign of health and good parenting probably doesn't help either, Hager adds.

"Our society really values chubby infants and toddlers," she says.

Baby fat may be cute, but too much of it sharply increases a child's risk of being overweight later in life.

"A lot of parents don't understand that, even in infancy or toddlerhood, if your child is overweight then they won't necessarily grow out if it," Hager says. "There are certainly... kids that grow out if it, but most kids don't."

Health.com: 10 habits of healthy families

The toddlers in the study ranged in age from 12 to 32 months. Twenty-nine percent were considered overweight, meaning they were in the 85th percentile or above for their age group on World Health Organization growth charts.

The mothers of overweight toddlers were generally satisfied with their child's weight. Eighty-two percent indicated they had no desire for their child to be smaller, and 4% said they wanted their child to be even larger.

Two-thirds of the mothers in the study were living at or below the poverty line, and just over half were receiving food stamps under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Although childhood obesity rates tend to be higher in low-income populations, Hager says she'd expect to find the same misperceptions among more affluent mothers.

Health.com: As childhood obesity improves, will kids in poverty be left behind?

"Other studies of older children and adolescents that have taken place in mixed-income populations or middle-income populations have shown similar findings," she says.

Understanding how parents view their children's body size is important, Hager says, because moms and dads of overweight kids are less likely to help their children eat better and get more exercise if they don't think their child's weight is an issue.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011


soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Portland tony

    Who decides this ideal weight ignoring ethnic and genetic background? I've seen kids who looked like they are severely undernourished that would fall into a healthy kid criteria . Yet those who are a little heavier who are ten times more active classified on the cusp of obesity. This one size fits all mentality just doesn't work!

    May 7, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aine57

      If ethnic and genetic considerations are included, does this mean that the countries from which today's obese citizens come should also contain large numbers of obese citizens?

      May 8, 2012 at 06:26 | Report abuse |
    • AngelinaNY

      You just proved this study's point.

      May 8, 2012 at 20:19 | Report abuse |
  2. ben

    I was a fat baby, 30 lbs @ 1 year old, never had lifelong problems. Teaching your children healthly eating habits would be the only concern.

    May 7, 2012 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KJC

      That's not medically accurate. There are certain times in our lives when we add or remove the number of fat cells on our body. We are not able to do that at all ages. In the rest of our lives, we are either filling or emptying the number of fat cells we have. So yes, the amount of fat a baby puts on does affect the risk of being obese later in life, because they may have more fat cells to potentially fill up (among other reasons why childhood obesity is linked to adulthood obesity). The article is not saying that all heavy babies will be heavy in adult life and vice versa – it's stating that's the trend for most – so if that was, for example 70% of babies, then you would be in the 30% that are not in the majority, which does not at all discredit the point of the article.

      May 7, 2012 at 17:31 | Report abuse |
  3. Ethics Board

    Meh, a parent's perception about their child is meaningless. If they think they're normal, but they're fat... so what? If they think they're intelligent, but they're stupid... so, okay? That's the parents perception and it's normal. Every parent thinks there child is perfect, even if they aren't, and that's part of being a parent...focusing on the good parts and ignoring the flaws.

    May 7, 2012 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • really?

      Teaching your kid some responsibility and accountability would be nice too. Being a fat kid is a sign of bad parenting, not good parenting.

      May 7, 2012 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
    • Aine57

      A little reality-based perception would make for better parenting. Seeing your obese child as normal means that you are helping to negatively determine how that child's health will be later in life. Seeing your child as more intelligent means expecting from that child attainments he or she may not give. Isn't it better to focus on the child's true attributes and help him or her achieve the very best they can with what they have?

      May 8, 2012 at 06:29 | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      while not surprising that a parent would overlook these problems it still isn't good. It's good for a parent to love and support a child despite these issues, but that's not the same thing as permitting the issue to continue. Any parent would immediately intervene if the child was doing something dangerous like playing near a hot stove because they all see that as bad and know that they can stop the child and still accept the child, but with weight it's not as obvious to many parents that something is wrong and there is a danger. Love a fat child, but don't allow it to continue and harm the child's life.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • llene Bilenky

      If someone who is in charge of buying and giving food to a child perceives that child's (over) size as normal or even too small, they will buy and give more unhealthy food and too much of it, at an age where the child can only eat what his parents give him. When the child is older and going to other kids' houses, and going out with friends to fast food, there will be no control.
      I read "An End to Overeating" by MD David Kessler, and "Why We Get Fat," by Gary Taubes, and other writers who write about processed food and empty carbs. Kessler especially examines the processed food industry and how chemists spend lots of time figuring out the exact blend of fat/sugar/carb/salt to make anything more palatable (and for some people, a virtual addiction, where the same parts of the brain light up as if using cocaine when taking in this bad food).
      I have personally found that eating "bad" food in moderation is harder for me than avoiding it at all, as eating one thing sets up the glucose and taste things for another thing, in an endless cycle.

      May 8, 2012 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
  4. Portland tony

    This whole fat vs healthy debate is man-made. Take a look at photos and movies of post war Europe and tell me all about fat babies. You can be a fat baby or a thin baby or a normal baby......It's what you eat growing up that makes you what you are at least health wise!

    May 7, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. marty rogers

    isn't it supposed to be proportional to height or length? if your child is in the 85th percentile of weight but 90th in height, is that an overweight child? really?

    May 7, 2012 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tbjunk

      I don't think that it is necessarily overweight. It is an indicator to how quickly your child is growing.

      May 8, 2012 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • mc

      It is supposed to be looked at relative to height! My daughter is at the 80th percentile for weight but also 85th percentile for height...so her bmi at 2 1/2 is perfect (according to her pediatrician). She has her father's height and her mother's chunky thighs, but it is active and eats healthy.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • Saffron

      My kids weren't ridiculously skinny but they were in the 75-90th percentiles for height and they were both in the 25th percentile for weight. They have crept up to 50th percentile for weight but are still tall for their ages. My kids aren't those gangly skinny kids either, they are normal looking kids who wear regular sized clothes (not plus or slim), the clothes are a little loose when they first grow tall enough to need the next size up but they soon fit perfectly. Now, my cousin's kid weighed 100 lbs at 2 years old and they thought it was totally normal... the kid was literally wider than she was tall because she was only in the 40th percentile for height. She has to buy adult clothes and get them altered like a little person... and they think that's normal? I feel sorry for her because she will never be healthy, she's already diabetic. At holidays, the kid eats so much that she ends up throwing up (one year on top of more dinner than I ate (and I'm not small), she ate two whole pumpkin pies and a whole can of whipped cream by herself as well as at least one slice of every other dessert), mom and dad say nothing. Mom and dad thought it was funny and were going to leave the vomit there for my 80 year old grandmother to clean up, I told them to clean it up or I'd clean them up... amazingly the next holiday she had limits on how much she was allowed to eat because lazy mom didn't want to clean up puke again.

      May 8, 2012 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
  6. kimbolina98

    Another example of our real problem in this country, delusion! We think we are awesome and number one in everything. We tell our children how generally amazing they are without pointing out their true strengths. Unrealistic view of what's awesome and of promoting our own awesomeness without actually nuturing any substance as human beings is rotting this society from the inside out! Grow up America! Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, you are not generally amazing! Choose substance over swagger!

    May 8, 2012 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Think a little

      Grow up is right. People having self-esteem is NOT the problem with America today. Mothers who generally think there children are awesome is NOT the problem with America today. In fact, mothers in every nation have a skewed view of their children. It's called being a mom...

      May 8, 2012 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • SophyB

      @think--
      Self-esteem is not the problem but DELUSION is. I work with three twenty-somethings who are all overweight and slow to start anything on their own. However, to hear them talk (and they talk about themselves all the time), they are brilliant, creative thinkers who have been blessed with far above average intellects. They complain about how they are not appreciated for their talents and aren't being promoted fairly, yet they are the the ones facebooking, tweeting, and blogging during work hours. Really?? It's great to have self esteem, but the self esteem mMOVEMENT has run amok when it turns people into narcissists.

      May 8, 2012 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
  7. tbjunk

    As an overweight mom who struggles with her own weight issues, I work hard to teach my 3 year old the ways of healthy eating. She isn't allowed to drink soda and is extremely limited on the junk and sweets. She loves the out doors and gets a generous amount of exercise. I keep close tabs on her percentile when we see the doctor. She is 50% with her height and weight. I would hate to have her go through what I have experienced.

    May 8, 2012 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Gail Kirchner

    Not to disregard obese babies and children, adults who are obese should NEVER have surgery to help make them eat less. Those surgeries don't usually work and are very unhealthy. Those surgeries should not be an option for obese people.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • brickhouse61

      I am over 3 years post op for weight loss surgery and am very successful with my progress. The surgery works, it's the comminttment from those that have the surgery that sometimes fail. If someone follows the doctors instructions and continues the life style changes necessary to maintain the weight loss, then they are successful. There are too many people that become complacent after a while and go back to the old habits. Those are the ones that gain the weight back and have to start all over. As for me, I am eating healthier and feel healthier now that I have lost most of the weight. I even enjoy trying new foods that fit into my meal plans.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • llene Bilenky

      Gastric bypass is a miracle for some obese people, but not for people who are compulsive overeaters. I have seen both. One co-worker's wife, at 350 lb. and diabetic, had gastric bypass and two weeks after surgery, was no longer diabetic. There is something metabolic going on there, and I had to see it to believe it, assuming she was an overeater. She's lost about 150lb in less than a year, goes to the gym and she and her overweight husband are well on their ways to great health. She apparently gained weight on various psychiatric medications, which I also didn't really believe.
      Another co-worker, a compulsive overeater from way back, had gastric bypass, and lost about 110 lb. She continues to have food cravings and gains 30 lb, drops ten and back and forth, with eating the chips and junk in a compulsive way.
      Other forms of bariatric surgery don't appear to have the end-diabetic effect, and only improve diabetic health with large weight loss and continued healthy eating.

      May 8, 2012 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
  9. amoss

    My daughter became a chubby preschooler and held onto the weight till she was a young adult. I never harassed her about it, though privately I was concerned. I always figured that, when she was ready, she'd make the decision to slim down. And she did! She lost 60 lbs in her mid-20s and looks fabulous now.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nichole

      Thank you soooo much for your comment. maybe i can relax a lttle now:)

      May 8, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • pattysboi

      You can chalk that up to being a nurturing, LOVING parent! In other words, good job!

      May 8, 2012 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  10. Lauren

    This is a flawed report. A child could be in the 85th percentile for weight, but if he were also in the 85th percentile for height, he wouldn't be overweight. Toddlers are supposed to be plump, the body puts on fat the child burns as he or she begins the physically demanding tasks of walking and climbing. It might be more useful to give guidelines regarding how plump is too plump.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Saffron

      Toddlers are not supposed to be plump, that is advertising by formula manufacturers showing women in the 20s-30s that their formula would make their kids fat and happy.

      May 8, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
  11. ORLY?

    I see a flaw in the study. My son is in the 97% for his weight and would be considered obese by this study but every time I ask my doctor if he's overweight she assures me he is not. He's in the 99% for height, and well proportioned. If my doctor isnt concerned about my "obese" child I'll hold off panicking over poorly designed studies.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Allyson

      There is a separate measurement to calculate if a child is underweight or overweight. The study is not flawed. If someone is 99% for height then there weight will also be around the 99%. You want to look at weight for height ratio. This measurement does not compare a child to anyone else. This measurement shows how the childs weight fits on their own height. You can be in the 90% for height, the 89% for weight and still be okay. If a child was 78% for height and the 99% for weight then the weight for height ratio would be too high. The weight to height percentage should be in between the 10-85%.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • ORLY?

      Allyson, that's all fine and dandy, but if you read the article it clearly states "Twenty-nine percent were considered overweight, meaning they were in the 85th percentile or above for their age group on World Health Organization growth charts." All the knowledge in the world won't help you if you dont apply it to the correct situations.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • Alyssa

      I agree ORLY- you have to look at HEIGHT and I'd bet children are taller these days making up for a lot of the difference. The idea that a 2yo is obese is a bit extreme to me. They've had 1 year away from formula/breast milk. No need to panic just yet!

      May 8, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • CC

      Nowhere does the article say 85th percentile by weight; it says 85th percentile on growth charts. Presumably (though I haven't read the full study), the charts are by BMI.

      May 8, 2012 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Allyson

      ORLY and Alyssa,
      Maybe the way I explained it was confusing, my fault. There are 3 seperate graphs you are looking at. The first one is the child's height percentage, the second one is the child's weight percentage, and the Third one is how the child's weight fits on their OWN height. If the child is above the 85% for height and weight on the first two graphs, that is okay! But on the third graph if they are above the 85% then they are overweight. Sorry. This isn't a matter of opinion. These are the facts. I work in healthcare and see plenty of children everyday. I use these graphs everyday and what the graphs saw compared to what the child looks like always matches. I see a lot of overweight and obese children.

      September 20, 2012 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Allyson

      I see plenty of two year olds drinking 6+ cups of milk a day, lots of juice, soda, sweet tea, etc. Eating foods loaded with sugar and saturated fat. Yes toddlers can be overweight and obese. It is sad, but true.

      September 20, 2012 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
  12. Summer

    Its pathetic how disgustingly fat this country has become. And I'm not talking about babies, I'm talking about adults. Big, Wheezing, Wobbling, tubs of lard. Its disgusting.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dustin

    This is a topic that I find interesting since we recently had to take my daughter to a dietician, she is 2. At two years of age my daughter is 46 pounds but is 41 inches tall. Do I look at her and think she is overweight? No. But apparently those in the medical field seem to disagree.

    May 8, 2012 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alyssa

      The average girl who is 41 inches tall weighs EXACTLY 46pds. Find a new doctor! your child is TALL, not fat!

      May 8, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
  14. Victor

    Typical parent behavior...treat babies like little dolls and force feed them even if it's contrary to their well-being and will probably cause lifelong problems. This is further evidence that you should need to have a license to procreate...pathetic!

    May 8, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. delores lewis

    I am so very tired of hearing about over weight this and over weight that. Every parent who loves their child wants only the best for that child. Period. Body type and image should not be the litmus test as to intellilgence or kindness. Unfortunately, our society has deemed acceptable, even necessary, to bully, yes, bully overweight people. It is so very sad that we teach our children to continue this type of prejudicial nonsense, starting with our toddlers.

    May 8, 2012 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JohnC

      noting that a child is overweight and correcting it is no less loving and accepting than noticing the child is ill and needs care.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
    • BoB

      "Body type and image should not be the litmus test as to intellilgence or kindness"

      No, but it is a pretty good litmus test "as to" health. What parent wouldn't be concerned about their kid's health?

      May 8, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Delores, I have to disagree. Not all parents want the best for their kids witnessed by the huge increase of newborns that are addicted to a variety of drugs. Take a look at the fat Mom in the grocery store and the fat kids with her. the cart is full of soda, chips, processed dinners, junk, junk and more junk! If adults want to be fat slobs, that's fine. Kids don't know better. Fat kids are destined (many) for a life of health problems. Some fat adults do have medical problem that exacerbate their weight. Most have that dreaded disease....... FOOD IN MOUTH !!!!

      May 8, 2012 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
  16. nichole

    Having an overweight child is not a sign of bad parenting in every situation. I have a 3 year old that is tall and lean and a 4 year old that is tallest in her class, but she is 50 lbs. so she is considered overweight. They have milk fruits, and veggies, and once in a while get a treat of frozen yogurt or a popsicle. My daughter is obssed with food. She will ask for something in an hour right after eating dinner. It stresses me out, and I hate having to tell her no, but 90% of the time I do. I hope that while everyone is obsessed with their child's weight, we are focusing more on how well they can read, or how beautiful their drawings are.Yes, I was a fat kid. And people being so obsessed with my weight when I was little has given me a very bad realtionship with food. no, no obese anymore 66 inches 135 lbs.But sometimes I wonder if that would not have been the focus of everything when I was little maybe I would have a better self image. Teach children good eating habits, keep them active, and remember not everyone is going to be a size 2

    May 8, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JohnC

      At ages one and two simply feeding a bit less or a bit better won't give a child a bad relationship with food - they'll barely notice the change at that age.

      The important point of this study isn't that ALL children should be some weight but more that a parent should not completely trust their own perspective and get an opinion or two from qualified people and then take that advice seriously. If they say a child is still overweight even though tall ask more about why that's a problem and try to better understand the issues.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • Yoyo

      They are not 1 or 2. My 4 year old is already starting to see there are larger people in society. Like I said, she does eat very healthy, and has wonderful guidance from her parents. Me a critical care nurse that has a lot of experience with obese patients, and my husband a physician.

      May 8, 2012 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
    • llene Bilenky

      When I was a young hourglass-knockout babe, I wore a size 8. I don't remember there even being clothing available in anything less than a size 6. This "zero" and "2" business is infuriating. If only women's clothing would be sized by actual numbers, like mens' waist-size pants.

      May 8, 2012 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
  17. eroteme

    Some mothers seeing their overweight toddlers as normal is not a surprise. More than likely the overweight mother considers herself to be normal as well. And as the toddler's age increases, the two 'normal' overweights will enjoy regular dining at fast-food restaurants where they can increase their overwieht 'normalness'.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alcy

      This is news to me! I thought it was only Americans (for the most part) that smeeed to be growing larger, and that Europeans ate healthier foods and smaller portions. Again, I think it all stems from the lack of thinking BEFORE we put something into our mouths. It's been organic and hormone/antibiotic free for my family ever since I had kids, along with the complete avoidance of fast foods. With the fast food chains infiltrating other countries, it seems inevitable that their weight will go up as well.PS Hope you and your family enjoy a lovely Christmas!

      August 4, 2012 at 02:54 | Report abuse |
  18. Rene

    fat kids are usually with their fat parents, it's as simple as that. If a parent is fat they probably have very poor eating/exercise habits, and how do you expect them to know how to keep their kids slim and healthy? They don't know how! It's sad cause then you see these young kids develop type 2 diabetes which used to be what fat 40 year olds got 30 years ago. As a nurse you don't want to see the devastion that happens to people w/ diabetes happen to a young child.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. gholmom

    My svelte 2 year old was at the top of the ht/wt/BMI ration last year. The peds looked confused, but had to tell me that she was at risk of being obese. She is wildly active and eats very healthy. Not much jiggles on this baby. the peds agreed that it might just be a fluke of the percentiles.He also said that most of the kids that were "potentially overweight" were extremely tall for their ages, and few appeared "Fat".

    That being said, my hubbie and I and our other kids have always been at the top of the BMI charts. And we've never broken a major bone (car wrecks, farm accidents, etc. didn't cause more than bruises). This leaves us as a Tall Family with STRONG bones -regardless of our fat percents.

    This experience makes me take the above article into question. I really wonder if this is a case of Bad Math, or percentile scores being skewed at heights above 90th pctl.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alyssa

      I have the opposite problem. My son is very tall for his age- he's 3 months old and is almost grown out of his 6 month clothing and into 9 month clothing. His weight however is VERY low. He's 2pds BELOW the average kid his age. So his height is off the charts and his weight is about 10th percentile. When I compare his height and weight on height/weight charts he's not even on the chart, meaning NO children weigh as low as he does at his height. He has milk allergies and we are just now getting a handle on it by putting him on prescription formula. The problem I'm having with these charts is trying to prove 'failure to thrive'. The charts say his weight MUST be below 5th percentile....but he's not...he's around 10%. His HEIGHT is so so tall though that my docs feel he is 'failing to thrive'. His weight is well below where it should be for his height and even in the lower end for an average kid his age who is 3 inches SHORTER. These charts are terrible IMO for kids who are outside the norms. It really doesn't help us at all in our cases. We are trying to prove failure to thrive for medical insurance purposes and it's more complex b/c of these charts. I don't deny that many children have weight issues but a child who is 15 months old (generally just off formula/ breast milk for a few months) is not THAT at risk for being truly overweight. How exactly do you trim down a 12 month old anyway? Stop giving them bottles? It's ridiculous. We are doing everything we can to get our son to drink his bottles. Either way- trying to fatten up or slim down a kid is HARD.

      May 8, 2012 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
  20. Matt

    Come on parents, it's time to tell little Johnny and Katlin they can not have a 3rd donut. I saw a mother put Pepsi in her infants bottle.....talk about child abuse.

    May 8, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Phil

    We in America are so used to seeing fat people that now, when we see someone of ideal weight, we think they are under-nourished and underweight.

    May 8, 2012 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Spirit

      I may be biased, but I agree. In another country on the other side of the world where I was born, people constantly thought I was large – in height and weight. I thought so too, not knowing how it was in other areas of the world. When I was fourteen – 5'6 and 120 lbs – I moved to the USA. People constantly commented in my middle school up until now about how small I am. From time to time, they would ask if I eat alright. I am now still 5'6, but gained 8 lbs, and am still being used as an example of a "small" or "frail" individual. I can do a mile in 7 minutes, do 57 sit-ups and 46 push-ups each in a minute. Am I frail? Doubtful.

      May 8, 2012 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
  22. Lily

    no sugar, no white flour products, absolutely no fast food joints like Mickey D's or BurgerKing or Wendy's, etc....
    never soda.
    offer lots of veggies, fruit , fish, chicken and red meat now and then.
    get them outside even in inclement weather. keep television at a minimum. yes even the so called educational videos.
    and keep them moving and active. minds too. Toddlers should be coloring, finger painting, dancing, etc... They can recognize letters, numbers, shapes. Our goal is a healthy well rounded person not addicted to food.

    May 8, 2012 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Geoff

    How can you see your kids as overweight when you can't see over your own belly? Just saying its hard to get a good look at something when its physically imporssible.

    May 8, 2012 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Fifi

    I have a niece who was adopted by my spouse's sibling. She was a small baby, but in the care of her adopted parents (the mother is fat and from a fat family), she soon put on rolls of dimply fat,drinking down all that formula. I was aghast at how fat they let her get while still an infant and toddler, but the parents and grandparents saw that as "healthy." No surprise, the girl is an obese teenager now.

    May 8, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Daniel

    It may be better to use common sense than charts and numbers to determine weight. Better yet just look at the person. Most charts are silly. I'm 61 years old. 6'1" , 210 lbs and a 34" waist. I work out 4 times a week and I am considered seriously overweight. Huh ? If you have a double chin, can't hardly see your knuckles and can't see your privates because your belly is in the way, your are probably.....FAT. Don't know what the charts would say though.

    May 8, 2012 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emily

      My sons are both overweight on the charts but are in no way fat. They both wear slim pants. They're both very solid boys and very active. They run, bike and play at home and they're involved in sports. They are extremely healthy but every year when they're weighed at school, I have to have a note from the doctor stating that they're not obese.
      My oldest was a fat baby and even a toddler but slimmed down as soon as he was more active. He has hypoglycemia so we keep in close contact with his doctors. He plays tee ball and is in gymnastics. The charts are far from perfect and common sense is surely needed.
      There certainly are parents who need to wake up and pay more attention, but there's also no specific formula for the perfect weight child.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
  26. Megan

    My 17 month old is in the 85% for weight... but the 97% for height. He's just a big kid. I think the problem is parents who don't want to admit that they're feeding their child crap. At the very most my kiddo gets 1 "treat" a day (usually with his afternoon snack right after nap and before going out for our afternoon playtime. Sometimes it's fruit snacks, or ONE cookie, or a handful of chips along with something healthy) and the rest of what he eats are vegetables, fruits, sandwhiches, and other healthy food. I make him a fresh hot breakfast at least 3 days a week and the most sugared cereal he gets is honey nut cheerios. For my family of 3 I spend less than $300 /month on food and we eat plenty and healthy. Parents need to get off the computer/turn off the tv and put the health of their kids first even though it takes more time than putting something in the microwave.

    May 8, 2012 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Disney Mom

      Megan – teh problem is that those with fat moms & fat kids are primarily getting $2000 a month in food stamps that they can spend on candy, ice cream, soda pop, frozen pizza and deli and bakery goods. They also get WIC which pays for all their cereal, milk, cheese and other stuff. If I could spend that much I would be buying the freshest food but that is not the way lazy people think. I am raising my 3 teens by myself (have for 12 years). I have never brought home soda, junk food, etc from the grocery. We buy yogurt and fresh produce eating salads, eggs, tuna & chicken or turkey. We are super careful with money just like you. It sounds like you are a wonderful mom! By the way – we qualify for food stamps and free lunchat school but I want a better life so we are using self discipline and a budget to pack our own food and take control of our own family's health.

      May 10, 2012 at 06:48 | Report abuse |
  27. Sara r.

    This article and the comments bother me. Actually chubby toddlers were pretty common before formula became so popular, from paintings and pictures that I've seen of babies in the past. There isn't anything wrong with a baby that is being fed healthy foods and is chubby.
    I guess this is a subject close to my heart, as I am the mother of a chubby 2.25 year-old who is in the 90% for weight, and no, she's not super tall. She's 50% for height as far as I know. She is very healthy and eats a healthy diet of unprocessed and mostly organic foods that I make at home. She was breastfed exclusively until she was 7 months, and nursed until around 21 months old. She doesn't eat a lot of sugar, and she doesn't eat a lot of food in general. She is just chunky. I was the same as a child (and my twin sister), and no, I am not an obese adult. I'm not skinny, but simply a normal, average weight.
    I have a 2 month old son who is right on track to follow his sister. He's exclusively breastfed and has gained a pound a week since birth, putting him around 15 pounds. Yep, that's right OFF the growth chart, which I suppose would make him an obese baby?!
    According to all of you commenters, I should be feeding my children differently because they are too fat, despite the fact that they eat better than 90% of the world's population? I don't think so.

    May 19, 2012 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. cerrolinacole

    Good to have your information at from here. The details are interesting as per the having it. The details you present is profitable for the readers. And i am appreciating your articles details which being helpful to me and many of the other readers. Keep it up in future..

    Mother Toddler

    September 12, 2012 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. cerrolinacole

    This is very true that 9 out of 10 mom's feels that her child is very health even thought it have more weight. And it is normal that every mom wants her child healthy in it's growth stage. Your article gives so good information about the reality.. Keep sharing..

    Mother Toddler

    September 20, 2012 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.