Obesity has gripped the world and is rising to epidemic proportions, a puzzling trend despite the growing awareness of fat-free healthy diets.
Quattrin, who is testing an innovative program for preventing and treating obesity in children aged 2 to 5, has now offered her expert opinion.
Why have obesity rates increased so much over the past several decades?
Quattrin: People are eating more, and eating less healthy food high in calories. There are children who eat a whole carton of strawberries, and their parents think that's OK.
But too much healthy food can contribute to the problem, too. Extra calories, along with low physical activity, lead to obesity-especially in people with a predisposition to developing the disease, and certainly in kids whose parents are obese.
What are some simple steps children and families can take to prevent obesity?
Quattrin: Parents should educate themselves by finding out their children's body mass index, and their own. Young children who don't look overweight may still be obese.
If the home environment is such that the refrigerator and pantry are full of junk food instead of fruits and vegetables, the child grows up feeling that's the way he or she should eat.
Park a little further away from the supermarket. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the store or a friend's house. These are simple steps that can ameliorate and prevent problems.