The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) welcomes new research published this week in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, showing the more time a toddler spends watching TV the larger their waist size by the age of 10.

The research carried out using 1,314 children also found that a child's sporting ability is reduced for each extra hour of TV they watched per week at the age of two.

The article highlights the need for guidelines providing parents with clear advice on balancing time their child spends in active play and the time they spend sat on the computer or watching television.

Dr Atul Singhal, Professor of Paediatric Nutrition at the Institute of Child Health and Chair of the ITF, said: "The toddler years are when parents should be making key lifestyle choices to avoid their child becoming overweight or obese in later life.

"In line with the Department of Health recommendations we advise limiting TV and other screen time to just one hour a day and encouraging physical activity for at least three hours every day. Physical activity, includes active play inside or outside as well as activities such as walking, running or dancing.

"The vast majority of obesity is caused by an imbalance between energy intake from food and energy expenditure through activity levels, growth and development.

"To ensure they are managing meal times and physical activity with confidence, parents and carers need consistent, trustworthy advice. The 'Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers' is a practical, easy-to-follow guide on what food to offer, what behaviour to encourage, and how best to manage mealtimes."

For more information and expert advice on how to feed toddlers well, visit the Infant & Toddler Forum's website

Posted by Penny Hosie