With obesity showing up in children as young as 2, the American Dietetic Association last week unveiled feeding guidelines designed to address new parents' lack of knowledge of babies' dietary requirements.
An August 2004 survey, conducted for Gerber Products, which funded and co-sponsored the initiative, found that 29% of new moms used food as a reward, and more than one-third of those that did were likely to offer unhealthful choices such as cookies and candy, for example.
The new Start Healthy Feeding Guidelines complement and expand on existing expert groups' guidelines for feeding babies and are designed to fill a gap in the federal dietary guidelines, which focus on people ages 2 and up.
In addition to recommending foods for each developmental stage, the guidelines will provide information on nutrition and promoting healthful eating habits and physical activity.
To promote the guidelines, Parsippany, N.J.-based Gerber plans to distribute copies of the guidelines to pediatric professionals, publish brochures for parents, put feeding charts and menu plans on its Web site, and develop promotional programs with retailers.