About the author: Alisa Parker is a master in Literature at the University of Massachusetts. She is currently working as one of the best writers at the place where you can find information about writing senior paper
She also studies male psychology.
Obesity is a serious problem in the developed world today. Moreover, this problem is common not only for adults but also for infants. The reason is that obesity frequently starts right after the person’s birth so that it is quite logical that is progresses to adulthood. Mothers are so worried about the health of their children that try to feed their babies much more often than it is necessary. In addition, babies with big cheeks and plump legs receive great admiration and attention, as opposed to their thin peers. It is explained by the existing stereotype that fat infants are healthy because they have a good appetite and enough energy for the development. This paper will analyze the risks associated with excessive weight in infants while also studying the opposite views. Obesity is not healthy because it raises the risks of being overweight in later years, develops wrong eating habits and leads to numerous diseases in childhood.
Arguments against Obesity in Infants
Obesity in infancy increases the risks that a child will suffer from this condition at age three and later. Although it may look surprising that the weight gain during the first months of life has so continued health effects, it is logical because infancy is associated with intensive human development and serves a foundation for future growth (Woo Baidal et al., 2016, p. 761). Moreover, obesity in the first months of life and before birth has a key influence on the development of child obesity. Children gain much fat during the first moths after birth, and they cannot cope with it. Unlike adults, they are too small to do physical activity or go on diet. In addition, most of mothers are so anxious about the fact whether their child is not hungry that they constantly offer food. Children definitely cannot control their appetite or the amount of food they eat. What is more, some mothers even force infants to awake in order to give some food or simply feed them to calm them. Therefore, intensive feeding in infancy leads to obesity at age three and later because infants are not able to cope with such a high fat intake. Due to the fact that infants take only small amounts of fat for their development, the rest of food remains in the body, which leads to excessive weight. The consumption of more calories than one needs causes obesity in any age, and infancy is not an exception. In older age, children are able to refuse to eat if they feel they are not hungry. On the contrary, in infancy, babies do not have such opportunity. Accordingly, parents are responsible for the development of obesity in their children in infancy, which can progress to childhood and even adolescence and adulthood. Thus, big cheeks are a sign of unhealthy condition rather than healthy weight.
Eating patterns in infancy have a direct impact on eating habits in childhood. Specifically, breastfeeding and complementary feeding in the first 1,000 days are highly essential (Nicklaus & Remy, 2013, p. 179). Mothers should consider all advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding while deciding how to feed their child. If they decide to refuse to breast-feed, they should think about the most appropriate type of formula for their child. In fact, breastfeeding is the most appropriate type of feeding because it has a positive influence of the development of a person’s eating behaviors in the next years. For example, it affects the development of a person’s reply to hunger and satiety indicators as well as might accelerate the enhancement of self-controlling abilities while feeding. Differences in the composition of milk children consume during infancy have an impact on consuming energy in childhood. Furthermore, breastfeeding plays a considerable role in metabolic imprinting. A baby learns to accept various flavors through eating mother’s milk. Therefore, breastfed babies experience more tastes, which would simplify their transition to other foods in later periods. The following facts about breastfeeding illustrate the importance of proper feeding during infancy. Thus, if the child consumers many calories in infancy, they will continue eating many calories in childhood. As a result, the obese child would continue rapidly gaining weight later in life. The same consequences happen with regard to the variety of flavors in the breast’s milk. If the infant is exposed to numerous flavors during breastfeeding, they would definitely demand a similar variety of tastes later. Inability to develop self-regularity abilities and overeating may prevent the formation of these abilities in the next years. With respect to complementary feeding, it also effects the development of eating habits. As a result, the infant gets used to timing and a variety of food. Apparently, obesity in infancy means that the child has wrong timing and food variety, which causes the creation of wrong eating behaviors. For example, the person gets used to consuming products with much energy but a small amount of nutrients (Lobstein et al., 2015, p. 2510). Therefore, obesity in infancy is unhealthy because it has a negative impact on the development of eating habits, which would lead to weight issues in the future. It is important for the infant to learn to feel own hunger and satiety as well as control oneself while feeding. Otherwise, the failure to learn these abilities would lead to obesity. In other words, infancy is a time when the person builds a certain foundation for eating habits, and obesity during this period is a trigger for the development of unhealthy eating behaviors in the future.
However, the greatest problem associated with obesity is that it increases the risks of the development of various diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, sleeping issues, and heart disease. Although these risks normally become noticeable after infancy, proneness to them develops in the first months after birth. According to the above-mentioned facts, it becomes evident that obesity in infancy leads to the progression of the disease in childhood and adulthood as well as development of unhealthy eating behaviors. Therefore, obese infants are at a high risk of suffering from high blood pressure and high cholesterol (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Apparently, these two factors might lead to the development of cardiovascular disease. Unhealthy diet might also cause the development of type 2 diabetes and breathing issues, including asthma and sleeping apnea (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). In addition, the list of potential consequences includes some joint issues, fatty liver illness, and gallstones. Talking about the possible psychological effects, these are depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and problems with peers (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). For example, obese children frequently suffer from bullying. In the future, childhood obesity might transform into adulthood obesity, triggering such health issues as heart disease and cancer. Thus, obesity in infants is unhealthy. Although obese infants might not have any serious issues, they can develop them over some time. The reason is that the body of children gradually ruins. For example, some time is necessary for the development of type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Accordingly, regulation of weight of infants can prevent numerous health issues.
Arguments for Obesity in Infants
There are some positive arguments relating to obesity in infants. First, fast weight gain means that a person receives constant feeding. Evidently, the person does not suffer from hunger due to lack of maternal milk or formulas. On the contrary, thousands of infants die in Africa due to extremely low weight. They would be happy to be obese and survive even with numerous negative consequences obesity brings. Third, obesity might mean that the infant does not have severe health issues and develops appropriately. However, it is necessary to consider many factors to create a full picture of the infant’s development. Moreover, parents might try to cope with rapid weight growth so that obesity in infancy will not automatically progress to childhood. For example, they might start to control energy intake, frequency of meals and the presence of nutrients. Eating behaviors might be also modified. For example, parents may realize that their infant eats too much even when they are not hungry. Accordingly, they could set some limits on portions or simply create a schedule of meals. In addition, they could add some physical activity. Therefore, all negative consequences could be addressed. Furthermore, the absence of diet restrictions in infancy would help individuals develop some sense of freedom. Due to the fact that in the older age, they would have many opportunities to enhance their self-regulatory abilities, they can relax at least during their first months of life. Finally, infants with big pink cheeks look stronger and healthier that their thin peers. Thus, obesity in infants is not a serious health problem that could be easily addressed so that parents should not worry and set limitations for their babies.
Obesity is an immensely unhealthy condition that numerous infants suffer. First, it leads to the creation of wrong eating behaviors. People fail to learn to control themselves and feel hunger and satiety. Moreover, they get used to energy intake and a variety of flavors so that it would be difficult for them to modify their habits. Second, obese infants are at a high risk of the progression of this condition at age three and later due to wrong eating behaviors. Third, obesity increases the risks of the development of various diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease and psychological issues. Overall, obesity in infants leads to numerous health problems in childhood and even adulthood. On the other hand, excessive weight indicates that the baby does not suffer from hunger and has enough fats for the development. The obese infant receives some nutrients and has good health because bad appetite is frequently a sign of health issues. In addition, parents can try to address wrong eating behaviors when the child gets older. Although caregivers might spend much time and efforts on the modification of eating habits of their babies, it is possible to reach the desired result. Another argument justifying obesity is that infancy is the only period when people can have a rest from restrictions. Infants can try a wide variety of flavors without worrying about their positive and negative characteristics. In general, infancy is the best time for food experiments. Although the arguments supporting obesity seem to be reasonable, they do not consider the interests of infants. Babies would have to make more efforts to cope with their wrongly shaped eating behaviors than start eating properly in the very beginning of their life. Finally, it could be impossible to tackle some diseases that obese children suffer.