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Healthwise: The Dangers of Infant Diets

December 15, 2010

With the high amount of attention paid to childhood obesity, many parents are putting their babies and toddlers on diets.

“It's people who know there's an epidemic of obesity and they don't want their children to be overweight or obese and have negative outcomes that come along with that,” said Dr. Katherine Smyth, a pediatrician.

Nationally, there are reports of parents counting calories and even filling their baby's bottle with water instead of formula, and Doctors have recognized several problems caused by infant diets.

Martha Jefferson Hospital is working to make sure parents understand the dangers of those diets.

“The first two years of life they should be getting 50 percent of their calories from fat, which is higher than everybody else. Fat is critical in brain development,” explained Dr. Smyth.

Parents should first check with their pediatrician before putting their infants on a diet.

“Babies grow at different rates so there is a lot of variations of normal that you can have. Breast fed babies will often be in the higher ends of the growth curb for three to four months and then straighten out,” explained Smyth.

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