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Report: Fight fat in tots, preschoolers

WASHINGTON -- A food pyramid just for the under-2 set? Contrary to popular belief, children don't usually outgrow their baby fat -- and a new report urges steps to help prevent babies, toddlers and preschoolers from getting too pudgy too soon.

Already, one in five preschoolers, 2- to 5-year-olds, is overweight or obese.

The report calls for better guidelines to help parents and caregivers know just how much toddlers should eat as they move from baby food to bigger-kid fare. And making sure preschoolers get at least 15 minutes of physical activity for every hour they spend in child care.

Yesterday's recommendations, from the Institute of Medicine, say early pounds can lead to lasting bad effects on health as children grow.

Consider: Babies drink milk until they're full and then turn away. But children as young as 2 or 3 are sensitive to portion size. "If you give them larger portions, they eat more," said Leann Birch of Pennsylvania State University's Center for Childhood Obesity Research, who chaired the IOM panel. -- AP