New UK Website Launched To Raise Awareness Of Childhood Obesity

A new website has been launched in the East Midlands region of the UK to raise awareness of childhood obesity, and to obtain the opinions of parents and healthcare professionals on the subject.

This follows a study by researchers at the University of Nottingham. They determined that one quarter of babies were gaining weight too rapidly during the first 4 months of their lives, placing them at greater risk of developing childhood obesity.

The Early Prediction and Prevention of Obesity during Childhood (EPPOC) research project involved focus groups held in two UK midland counties. 38 parents participated, and offered their views regarding the size, weight, and feeding patterns of their baby.

The researchers discovered that some parents were confused over when to start weaning their child, while others worried whether breast milk provided sufficient nourishment for their baby. Some of the parents suggested that larger or chubbier babies were healthier. A number of the parents responded to their baby’s crying by offering nourishment, rather than exploring other possible reasons for their baby’s distress. The parents also asked for additional guidance regarding preparing healthy food for their baby, and encouraging physical activity.

Healthcare professionals including family doctors also contributed their opinions regarding intervention practices in cases where an infant may be at risk for developing childhood obesity. It was determined that healthcare professionals (including nurses and health visitors) were more likely to be asked for advice by parents regarding feeding their babies, even though they were less knowledgeable than the doctors. In addition to this, the family doctors were more concerned over maintaining their relationship with the parents, and were unsure over how best to intervene when a baby was identified as being at risk for childhood obesity.

The research highlights the need for healthcare professionals to acquire more knowledge about the early signs of childhood obesity, and for more consistent advice regarding obesity prevention.

Source: The University of Nottingham

detail from, “Madonna of Red Cherubs,” 1485, Giovanni Bellini

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