In a sad commentary on our times, the American Heart Association recently devoted an entire issue of its journal Circulation (2005; 111 [15]) to finding new strategies to combat the rising obesity epidemic among our nation’s youth. Warning that obesity begins in toddlerhood, the pediatricians who contributed to the journal’s findings encouraged parents and educators to make sure kids consume their daily share of fruits and vegetables, while also engaging in regular physical activity.

These were the pediatricians’ specific recommendations:

  • Feed toddlers five fruits and vegetables each day, along with fiber-rich grains.
  • Switch from full-fat to 1% or fat-free dairy products (e.g., milk or yogurt) after age 2.
  • Ensure that kids get at least an hour of active play time each day.
  • Limit the amount of time kids spend on sedentary activities, like watching television or playing computer games.