I have lately had several people discuss with me or email me about problems they have seen with children’s nutrition. As I meet people, I often find young children consuming several sugar-laden sodas, candies, and a host of other unhealthy beverages and foods in place of more healthful choices. Even 100% fruit juice contains a high amount of calories and sugar.
While we know that excessive calories when young can contribute to adult obesity, diabetes, dental cavities, and heart disease, studies are now providing a positive correlation between being overweight with ear infections.
The correlation is two-fold:
1. Overweight children are more likely to have problems with ear infections, joint disorders, and breathing problems.
2. Children with multiple ear infections when young are more prone to be obese adults. It is theorized that having ear infections may damage nerves controlling taste that run through the ear canal, leading to a heightened desire for high fat and highly sweetened foods.
May parents are not aware of whether their child’s weight is within a healthy range. Often parents underestimate how much their children weigh and overestimate how much they are supposed to weigh, which leads to parents with overweight children thinking that their children are at a healthy body weight.
If you want to find out whether your child’s weight is in a healthy range, visit the CDC website and download the growth charts provided. Chart your child’s growth as he/she ages. The plots should stay within the same range of percentiles (i.e. if your child is at the 75th percentile weight for height and then drops into the 30th percentile, you should be alerted that something may not be right and should consider a check-up for your child).
Information from: Centers for Disease Control, Web MD, Dole Nutrion News