Strollers, car seats, and shopping carts are making your kids fat

Are your kids fat?

If you’re a normal, reasonable parent – chances are that you’re going to say, “no – my kids are not fat”.  Perhaps they’re merely big-boned, or still are working off their baby fat.

Think we’re crazy for even asking?  We don’t think so — One study published in the New York Times says that 10% of all children under 2 years old are overweight.  That 12.4% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old are obese.

If your child is obese at the age of 5 years old — and if obesity doesn’t run in your family genetically at that age — then maybe, just maybe, there’s something in the manner you’re raising your child that is contributing to their lardness.


Jeep Cherokee Sport Stroller
Jeep Cherokee Sport Stroller

So what are you doing wrong as a happy, caring parent that could be a contributing factor?  If you believe what Wayne Curtis – an expert on walking – has to say, it’s primarily because you’re not allowing… nay, forcing… your children to walk at a young age.


Basically, sitting your child down in a stroller while Mom or Dad goes out for an evening walk may help get the child some much-needed fresh air, but it does absolutely nothing to encourage the child’s own exercise.  They sit passively while you push them down the sidewalk, happily stuffing their face from Cheerio crumbs they find in the stroller’s tray table.

Wayne says you should encourage your children to walk as often as you can.  Sitting passively could also lead to language development or other issues beyond the simple exercise that walking provides.

Wayne never mentions shopping carts in his tirade.  But we will, and we have a simple rule:

If your child is too big to be in a stroller or a car seat, then they’re too big to ride in the shopping cart.

Some parents say that they would rather push their 8 year old child around the supermarket than be slowed down by distractions or other concerns where the child isn’t in their immediate range of vision.  We get that.

What do you think?  Do you think your parenting style of pushing your kids around is contributing to early childhood weight gain?  Tell us your thoughts in the comments…