In NSW, daycare centers are planning to phase out junk food and make exercise mandatory, as part of a plan set up by the Health Department to counter childhood obesity.
These recommendations follow revelations of overweight toddlers consuming soft drinks, even as they were being sent to dieticians.
The NSW report, on the investigation of obesity in two to five-year-olds, is the biggest study of its kind in the country. The research revealed that the eating habits in young children were making them obese.
From 1985 to 1995, in a period of 10 yrs, the level of obesity among the Australian children grew considerably."The period from two to five is such a critical time in child development and you can really set good eating habits," says Deanna Pagnini, the author of the report. The report also looks into the role of pediatricians, parents and teachers in inculcating good habits in children.
There are currently no guidelines on physical activity for young children across the country and the government working party is now deciding on the level of exercising the children need and the type of healthy foods that are acceptable. The earlier the children are guided the better it is for them to adapt.
Food Watch nutritionist Catherine Saxelby said it was tempting for parents who lacked time, to give their children pre-packed foods. Besides it was also a tatic adopted by the parents to buy their children's love.