Month 22 Worry: When to Switch from Whole to Lower-Fat Milk?
What the Doc May Do
As usual, your pediatrician will watch your child’s growth curve carefully at each and every well child visit. Unusual instances of “failure to thrive” or very poor weight gain may require higher caloric intake throughout a child’s second year of life (or beyond). These children are placed on an “anti-cardiac” diet, rich in saturated fat and calories—much like the diet you would avoid as an adult—to support proper physical growth and development.
There are other medical conditions which might prompt your pediatrician to recommend a higher-fat diet past age 2, including prematurity with delayed “catch up” growth, significant congenital heart disease, or other severe chronic health conditions.
Pediatricians will almost never recommend a low-fat diet for kids under 2, but with the childhood obesity epidemic we face nationally, it is worth mentioning. Limiting fruit juices, sugared drinks such as sodas, desserts, and candies are critical in this age group. In kids over 2, I feel that the risk of childhood obesity far outweighs the risk of ingestion of small amounts of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet) or sucralose (Splenda), and I OK them for my patients.
Bear in mind that there are some doctors who recommend continuing a high-fat diet until age 3. Although this was not how I was trained, there is no definitive study which proves that age 2 is an absolute cutoff. So use your good parental judgment, think about your child’s individual needs, and talk to the pediatrician at your toddler’s 2-year visit.
Even the most confident parent has concerns about her child’s health and wellness from time to time. Learn more about which medical issues are most common at each age, here. (If you have any pressing concerns or questions about your child’s health, please check with her healthcare provider.)
- What was last month’s most popular health worry?
- Learn which medical question you might have next month.
- Here’s what else is happening with your child’s health and development this month.
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