Infant and Toddler Forum supports call to action on childhood obesity

The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) welcomes the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) call for an action group to be set up to tackle childhood obesity in England.

The UK is facing a dietary crisis. Public Health England estimates that almost a third of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese.i Maternal obesity in the UK is risingii – around 16 per cent of women are obese at the start of their pregnancy.iii Diets today are too high in sugar and some are low in important micronutrients such as, iron, folate, iodine, calcium and potassium.

Judy More, paediatric dietitian and ITF member, said: “Children who become overweight are eating more than they need – either through excessively large portions of food or too many high energy snack foods and sweet drinks. The Infant and Toddler Forum have developed resources to give parents guidance on suitable portions sizes for toddlers as it is this age when obesity can develop. Dental decay is also seen in children who have an excess of sweet food and drinks, and iron deficiency anaemia in those that are offered a poor diet without enough iron rich foods. This call to action from the RCGP is an important reminder that we need to work together and act earlier to raise awareness of the impact poor nutrition has on a child’s health, now and in the future.

Evidence is slowly building to reveal a connection between the health of the mother and later health of the child, suggesting that improving the nutrition and health of women before and during pregnancy may be the starting point if we are to improve the health of the next generation.”

For practical advice on instilling positive eating habits, see the ITF’s new food calculator app, Tot It Up. The app gives practical advice based on the ITF’s award winning Portion Size Recommendations for 1-4 year olds.

See also the ITF’s Understanding Food LabelsFactsheet for healthcare professionals and the Guidance and Tips for Parents.

i. Health and Social Care Information Centre  National Child Measurement Programme – England, 2012-13 school year [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2014 Aug 5]. Available from: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/2021/Website-Search?productid=13778&q=national+child+measurement+programme&sort=Relevance&size=10&page=1&area=both#top

ii. Public Health England. Prevalence of obesity in females aged 16-44 years during the period 1993-2010 [Internet]. 2014. Available from: http://www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/maternal_obesity/uk_trends

iii. NICE. Weight management before, during and after pregnancy [Internet]. NICE. [cited 2014 Jun 5]. Available from: http://www.nice.org.uk/

Posted in NewsTagged

Further Reading

  • Katie Fox, Primary School Teacher   Due to coronavirus, playgroups and nurseries are shut and those children due to start school in a few months will be out of routine and away from friends. It is understandable that many parents are worried about getting their children ready for September. Children learn and progress at different rates so there are no set criteria on what they need to be able to know or do when they first start nursery, but if they have had some experience learning at home it could help to make it a smoother transition. Turn taking games, imaginative play, reading, and developing fine and gross motor skills can promote independence, build confidence and help develop simple skills.
  • Dr Gill Harris, Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist Dr Maddy Harris, Clinical Psychologist   In times of crisis – such as the one we are currently living in – parents may find that the normal stresses of everyday life are magnified and additional worries and concerns emerge. Knowing how to cope may prove difficult, but an approach which has widely been discussed in the media and on social media is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).The premise of ACT is that fears and anxieties are seen as real and cannot be ‘challenged’ away, unlike with cognitive behavioural therapy. By concentrating on our actions we are able to work past our fears. This method may help those struggling with this new chaotic routine we find ourselves in. The Infant & Toddler Forum are here to help with our top tips on how to apply this intervention.
  • Lucy Upton, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist   As social distancing policies are put in place, and schools and nurseries shut their doors indefinitely, keeping your toddlers entertained and active for hours on end during COVID-19 may seem daunting and at times virtually impossible! Parents and carers have been thrown into a cozy and chaotic ‘new normal’ and may wonder how they can meet the recommended three hours a day of physical activity for under-fives who are walking. But do not panic, the Infant & Toddler Forum are here to help make sure you have plenty of ideas to keep your toddler happy and entertained whilst encouraging physical activity.