How to keep kids healthy during National Nutrition Month and beyond

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, there's no better time than National Nutrition Month for parents to take stock of their toddlers' eating habits and resolve to make 2009 a year filled with healthier, more nutritious food choices. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children between the ages of two and five who are considered overweight has nearly quadrupled over the past few decades. Today, approximately 20 percent of toddlers fall into the overweight category, compared with just 5 percent in 1970. One significant factor may be the increase in portion sizes, which have more than tripled in the last generation.

To put a spotlight on the importance of toddler nutrition, Evenflo collaborated with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, one of the country's most respected and recognized authorities in the field of childhood nutrition, on a new innovative line of products that offers a simple solution to fostering healthy toddler eating habits. Smart Steps is designed to help parents avoid childhood obesity and eating disorders.

The new Smart Steps line provides product solutions for each age and stage of a toddler's eating development. Smart Steps is designed for children ages 6 months and older, with a focus on toddlers ages 3-5 years the phase of development when tots possess the natural instinct of knowing when they are hungry and when they are full and offers parents the opportunity to set a foundation of healthy eating habits, including right-sized portions and nutritious choices, to last a lifetime.

"Evenflo has a longstanding commitment to giving children a healthy start, and we recognize that simple practices such as correct portion control and self-serving play an important role in maintaining a healthy weight," said McKay Featherstone, General Marketing Manager, North America, Evenflo. "We were thrilled to use input from Cincinnati Children's in developing the Smart Steps product line."

Evenflo's Smart Steps line includes three product categories, each centered on basic principles that help nurture healthy eating habits and align with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines related to toddler feeding:

Knowing Portions products teach visual recognition of proper portion size; Exploring Food products help parents introduce children to new, healthy foods; and Serving Myself products encourage kids to self-regulate their meals while teaching manners and etiquette and enhancing self-confidence.

"Aligning Smart Steps with principles derived from AAP toddler feeding guidelines was a natural part of our product development," said Featherstone. "Teaching proper portion size, introducing a wide variety of foods, and allowing self-regulated meals are all part of Evenflo's committed strategy to help children develop an educated, healthy approach to eating and nutrition."

Evenflo Smart Steps is a proud partner in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Corporate Challenge and Project M.O.M initiatives, which are dedicated to improving family nutrition, ending childhood obesity, and transforming the way American families eat.

All Smart Steps products are without BPA, spill-free and colorfully designed. They are available now at Babies "R" Us and range in price from $3.99 - $11.99. For more information, visit