Take a chubby baby or toddler and you’re bound to squeal in delight. Your hands wil probably pinch the “fluffy” cheeks and squeeze those kids in a tight hug out of gigil.

PhilCare’s Clinical Management Director Dr. Yasmin Dela Cruz said that obesity in children is primarily caused by the wrong idea of what is “cute.” “Sure they look adorable because their fat but it’s not ‘cute’ at all. It’s dangerous.”

According to online health information provider WebMD,  overweight children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults. Although children have fewer weight-related health problems when compared to adults, this complacency can eventually lead to developing heart diseases and diabetes.

“Caloric-intake consciousness should, in fact, start as early as infancy,” Dr. Dela Cruz said.

With the ease of digital technology, calorie counting is practically at the palm of our hands. There are dozens of websites and even mobile apps that have calorie counters that also takes infants and toddlers’ nutrition into consideration. There are also  tutorials on how to manually calculate the ideal calories your baby should be taking.

According to online health forum Livestrong.com, a newborn, on average, needs 515 calories daily although the value changes according to the  baby’s needs as they grow older. This is why it’s important to cultivate healthy eating habits as early as infancy so that babies are introduced to the right food in the right amounts and carry over this habit as they grow older.

Calorie counting in infants should, however, be done with utmost caution and care since babies develop at a different pace.

To have to appropriate values, we should always seek the doctor’s opinion on what your baby’s diet should be. “Parents must be educated on correct eating habits in order to teach children the same,” added Dr. Dela Cruz.