By Anita Doberman: PNT Columnist
It’s official. My 2-year-old daughter, “Bubu,” named after the
Italian word “autobus” because she was such a little meatball as a
baby, is obese. At her well baby/toddler appointment, the doctor,
pointing to the growth chart in front of him, clearly stated that my
round, soft and precious daughter, is indeed too big.
I know she is chubby, but obese? Can a 2-year-old really be obese?
Apparently, yes. The Center for Disease Control, in a 2003-2004
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, using measured
heights and weights, indicated that “an estimated 17 percent of
children and adolescents ages 2-19 years are overweight — an increase
from 7.2 percent to 13.9 percent among 2-5 year olds, and 6 percent to
11 percent for 11 to 19 year olds, from five years ago. I knew that the
obesity epidemic was taking over our children, but I never thought Bubu
would be part of this group.
Like many parents whose children are overweight, I ask myself, how this could have happened and what I can do to change it.
As I think about Bubu, I realize that she always really enjoyed eating. In fact, she was a gigantic baby. She
doubled in size within the first month of her life, and loved food
the moment it touched her tongue, even as an infant. At first, her
roundness was cute, and the fact that she was such a good eater was
easier on me, because I could focus on the other kids who weren’t good
eaters, and who had to be encouraged at every
meal. But eventually, I obviously didn’t notice that I had to push
her to eat less, and cut down on her portions rather than praise her
for being enthusiastic when it came to food.
Despite the fact that I know Bubu must be eating more than she should, it doesn’t seem to be so much or so
different from the way my other kids, who are actually small, eat.
Honestly, if the pediatrician had told me that she was doing fine with
weight and height, I would have patted myself on the back for our
Perhaps, some of it has to do with a genetic pre-disposition, but I
am not about to sit and wait to find out if she will be an overweight
child and adult. From now on, I’ll watch her like a hawk, cutting down
on her portions and enrolling the two of us in boot camps — I bet there
are mommy and me boot camps out there.
This is an interesting experience for me. I now understand on a
personal level that for some of us, kids and adults alike, losing
weight or staying in shape isn’t as easy as it is for others. It gives
me a new respect for people who try hard despite going against the odds
— which is not to say that genetics is entirely and excuse.
And for this new awareness I have to thank my now chubby, but soon to be thinner, little Bubu.
Anita Doberman is a freelance writer, mother of five and wife of
an Air Force pilot stationed at Hurlburt AFB in Florida. Contact her at: