Thursday, April 20, 2017

A growing epidemic


Did you know that an estimated one in five kindergarten students is overweight or obese?

That's why Massachusetts General Hospital launched the First 1,000 Days Program, which assists women in our community during the time most critical to their child's health throughout pregnancy and for two years after the birth of their infants. The program was founded nearly a year ago with the goal to stop one of the most difficult to reverse epidemics we've ever faced childhood obesity.

Learn about childhood obesity by visiting our facts page now.

The most critical period for preventing obesity in children is between conception and age two. But childhood obesity doesn't just increase the risk of health complications and heart disease  it also leads to children being bullied and suffering psychologically. Mass General's First 1,000 Days Program teams physicians with social services to educate and provide personalized health coaching for mother and infant pairs at high risk for obesity.

Some critical elements of this program include:

  • Managing maternal weight gain … while we often hear the term "eating for two," the fact is, expectant moms are really eating for about 1.2. Managing this weight gain during pregnancy reduces the risk for childhood obesity.
  • Understanding an infant's needs … when a baby is full, they don't need to finish a bottle. And when an infant is tired or upset, they don't need to be soothed with food. These are long-held and misguided habits that Mass General is working to break.
  • Increasing activity and limiting screen time … getting young children outside and out of the stroller and out from behind a screen – is an easy way to help infants establish healthy habits.
How much do you know about childhood obesity? Visit our facts page to find out.

Thank you, 

Peter L.   Slavin, MD
Peter L. Slavin, MD
President, Massachusetts General Hospital 

P.S. The first 1,000 days after a baby is conceived are the most vital to his or her long-term health and wellbeing. Know the facts about childhood obesity today.

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