Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Gordito" Doesn't Mean Healthy...

It is no secret that the number of obese children in the U.S. has tripled in recent years. However, what alarms me (as a Latina mother) is that statistics show that Latino children are the most obese of all. I come from a family that loves to eat. In fact, mi 'buelita even opened her own restaurant in Dallas many years ago. It was a family-operated business. I think that many of us whose families originally came from areas that were not so - shall I say affluent? - have a deeply imbedded belief that a chubby baby is a well-fed one. Their mother is taking good care of them, keeping them properly nourished and lavished with love. I remember that whenever I finished a nice, big, "healthy" portion of food on my plate, my mamá would smile and say "Mi'ja está comiendo bien!" Of course, back then I would probably spend the rest of the afternoon or evening playing outside in my 'buelita's garden.

Times change. Lifestyles change. But sometimes our beliefs are a little slower to adapt.

Fortunately for us, Claudia González and Lourdes Alcañiz have a book and web site out to help us. "Gordito Doesn't Mean Healthy" gives us information, strategies and tools to prevent and manage obesity in our children. The web site has some valuable tools including a Body Mass Index Calculator to tell us if our children are overweight and a Latino Food Pyramid to help us make better food choices. The book offers healthy Latino menus for children - from newborns to adolescents.

To check out the English web site, click here.

To check out the Spanish web site, click aqui.

On a side note, I'd like to point out that, in general, breastfed babies tend to have less body fat. They are leaner, healthier and less likely to be overweight toddlers/children. Not to mention all the wonderful nutrients and immunities they get from breast milk, too. Perhaps my next few posts will be on the topic of nursing...

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