NUTRITION HOTLINE: Baby Fat: Fact or Myth?

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NUTRITION HOTLINE: Baby Fat: Fact or Myth?

Q: Is there really such a thing as baby fat? (Lauren D.)

A: Yes, baby fat really does exist. Babies and children go through distinct periods of growth during childhood and every body has its own genetically determined program. Girls and boys have similar amounts of body fat until around age 10, when girls begin to double their body fat in preparation for menstruation. At around age 13, boys begin to rapidly increase their lean body mass in preparation for their adolescent growth spurt.

Girls are vulnerable to dieting at this time and need to be educated about the natural, healthy changes occurring in their bodies. During puberty the body grows taller and thins out on its own, making dieting unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Spring 2003 Volume 1, Number 4
©2003 Gürze Books

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