On Jan. 24 a luncheon was held at the Newark Club to honor the gtraduates of a joint program meant to combat the childhood obesity epidemic in the city, where a third of three- to-five year-olds are obese.
The program, an effort sponsored by Newark Now, Let’s Move! and Nestlé, teaches parents the importance of good nutrition for infants and young children. The program is set to expand this year when parents from the first class will serve as peer educators.
The curriculum for the program is based on data from the Nestlé Feeding Infants & Toddlers Study (FITS). The FITS study examined the eating habits and nutrient intakes of more than 3,000 children four to 24 months of age.
The study found that as early as 12 to 24 months, children are beginning to develop some unhealthy dietary patterns that mirror those of older children and adults, and that may contribute to childhood obesity. Also, young children do not consume enough vegetables or whole grains and they consume far too many calories from solid fats and added sugars.