HEALTHY LIVING
06/24/2011 06:10 pm ET Updated Aug 24, 2011

Babies Need To Watch Their Weight Too, Study Finds

There is nothing cuter than a chubby baby, right? Nope, stop, drop that chubby little leg.

A new report from the National Academy of Science says that chubby babies and hefty toddlers are at risk of becoming overweight children and obese adults.

The Washington Post reports that about 10 percent of American children between ages 0 to 2 are overweight, while nearly 20 percent of kids ages 2 to 5 are as well.

Research shows that many parents and caregivers don't realize that a chubby baby means risking obesity later in life. so the report encourages parents to take their little one's love of cookies seriously and as early as possible.

“It’s not always easy to tell. There are chubby babies who are doing fine, but there are babies who are so chubby they are at risk. Just looking at them doesn’t allow you to make that distinction," said the report's author Leann Birch, director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University.

It's more than just poor nutrition, according to the report, lack of sleep is also factor causing children to become over weight. Not surprising, since it's the same for adults.

The report also recommends that kids need at minimum 15 minutes of physical activity every hour, and that children ages 2 to 5 should limit their TV and computer use to less than two hours a day.

Lastly, the report recommends that doctors should encourage more women to breast-feed since it has been shown to reduce the risk of becoming overweight.

All helpful information for parents who want what's best for their kids, but it's a fine line one researcher told paper:

“The focus from a very young age on the need for a child to ‘not be fat’ serves only to increase the already-vast number of young people suffering from eating disorders.”