Why do many adults overfeed children

Topic overview

Many parents, especially those who are overweight themselves, feed their babies into little pugs. This is what doctors at the University of Maryland come to know. Doctors say that many mothers mistakenly believe that the ideal healthy state of their babies is that of little Buddhas. And with this they would program the tendency of children to become overweight at an early age.

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12.5 million Americans between the ages of two and 19 are now overweight. The US Center for Diseas Control recalls that the issue of obesity in childhood is particularly true for children from poorer sections of the population.

How do mothers rate the health of their babies?

Doctors at the University of Maryland School for Medicine conducted a study to find out how mothers assess the health of their children - and how mothers feed their children based on this assessment. The work was done with cartoon drawings that were supposed to reflect the dimensions and proportions of the child's own.

Well meant, well done?

"Many parents fatten their babies," said Eliana Perrin of the University of Maryland study.

Cartoon drawings were presented to 280 mothers between the ages of 18 and 46, almost all of them from the lower income brackets and with a high proportion of obese mothers (72 percent of the 280 mothers were themselves overweight or obese). And the mothers should first choose the drawing that most closely corresponds to their own child.

Idealized images

Almost all mothers, according to the results of the study, took drawings in which the child was represented significantly smaller and slimmer than the real baby of their own. "Above all, obese mothers tend to set their children to be significantly smaller," says the head of the study, Erin Hager, who has been studying the health behavior of poorer classes in the Baltimore region for years.

In the second round, the mothers were asked what the ideal image of their child was. And it turned out that 71 percent of the mothers were very satisfied with the average body weight of their babies. The obese mothers were the happiest here. 20 percent of mothers wanted their children to be stronger - it was the mothers of those children who had a healthy body weight.

Parents mean too well

"The study suggests that we have many parents who tend to fatten their babies," writes Eliana Perrin of the University of North Carolina in her comment on the study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine .

The concern of doctors, Stephen Cook of the American Academy of Pediatrics told Reuters, is that the eating habits of children are determined very early: "Small children who gain weight too much as babies also have a tendency to become overweight later on." And this Overweight dragged them into puberty and into adulthood - with the expected secondary diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.