Research published in the latest issue of CMAJ Open suggests that 1 in 4 Canadian toddlers aged 18 months are overweight or obese. This study is the first to examine weight issues with the youngest members of society.
The obesity trend seen in older adults is extending down the age ladder to our country’s youngest.
28% of children ages 5 – 19 were found to be at least overweight.
Dr. Catherine Birken at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto told The National Post that she sees overweight children in her practice often.
“Yes, it’s a problem.”
But it’s Dr. Dan Flanders, pediatrician at North York General Hospital, whose comments have some confused.
“It’s really not an issue of parents not caring or being lazy. They’re just navigating a world where the odds are stacked against them.”
Dr. Flanders argues that “crappy foods” are too cheap and available, and parents are bombarded with marketing suggesting that they’re perfect foods for their children.
“Imagine how challenging it would be for a single mom who’s barely making it to serve fresh steamed vegetables and lean meat and a freshly cut salad,” said Flanders. “Our environment isn’t designed in a way to make that realistic, and helpful or easy. It makes more sense to stop at the drive-through and get your kids fed so they stop whining.”
Dr. Flanders believes that “conveying a message to parents that it’s their personal responsibility and they need to ‘get it together and become better parents’ isn’t fair.”