Strategies to encourage physical activity, healthy eating and good sleep habits are needed to reduce high rates of obesity among infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the United States, says an Institute of Medicine report released Thursday.
Limiting children’s TV time is a key recommendation.
Rates of excess weight and obesity among U.S. children ages 2 to 5 have doubled since the 1980s. About 10 percent of children from infancy up to age 2 years and a little more than 20 percent of children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese, the report said.
- Limiting young children’s television and other media use,
- Requiring child-care providers to promote healthy sleeping practices,
- Educating parents about age-appropriate sleep times and good sleep habits,
- Requiring child-care providers to provide opportunities and environments that encourage physical activity,
- Increasing efforts to promote breast-feeding,
- Requiring child-care facilities and preschools to follow the meal patterns established by the U.S. Child and Adult Care Food Program.
The report recommendations are aimed at policymakers and health-care and child-care providers, but these professionals can educate and support parents in establishing health habits in the home, too, the report authors said.
The institute is under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences.