The risk of diabetes and other health problems is showing an increasing trend with the huge numbers of children and teens becoming overweight or obese.
To counter the growing problem, Cindy Cunningham, a nutritionist at UT Southwestern Medical Centre, says it is essential to help babies avoid weight issues from the start of their lives.
"Even people with a genetic tendency to be overweight can avoid excessive weight gain with good nutrition and exercise," said Cunningham.
"Start with breastfeeding and introduce solid foods when the baby is developmentally ready - around four to six months of age.
"Learn to recognize your child's hunger signs and don't use food as a pacifier," she added.
She has also offered some tips to help kids stay healthy:
Keep portions small and allow children to get a second helping if they're still hungry.
Keep the healthy food and snack options, such as fruit, stocked in the kitchen.
Don't give up on offering healthy foods, as it might take several tries before a child will accept.
Use low-calorie substitutes when cooking meals, such as low-fat cheese and nonfat milk.
Encourage children to get exercise through physical activity.