A warning about chubby children
A new report warns that it's time for steps to help prevent babies, toddlers and preschoolers from getting too pudgy too soon. Among the recommendations: better guidelines on what and how much toddlers should eat, sort of a food pyramid for the under-2 set — before they ever get hooked on junk food. Also, the report says toddlers need at least 15 minutes of physical activity for every hour in child care and preschool. Thursday's report from the Institute of Medicine warns that one in five youngsters already is overweight or obese by kindergarten.
More minority kids; fewer blacks marry
For the first time, more than half of the U.S. children under 2 are minorities. Also, preliminary census estimates show the share of African-American households headed by women — mostly single mothers — now exceeds African-American households with married couples, reflecting the trend of declining U.S. marriages. Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury. Other findings:
• Multigenerational households were most common among Hispanics.
• Roughly 581,000 of U.S. households are composed of same-sex unmarried couples, representing nearly 1 in 10 households with unmarried partners.
• Minorities comprise a majority of renters in 10 states, plus the District of Columbia — Hawaii, Texas, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico, Mississippi, New Jersey, Louisiana and New York.
A rare long look at the Obama sisters
A weeklong trip to Africa with their mother has offered a rare look at Malia and Sasha Obama, who are largely kept out of public view. Malia, 12, and Sasha, 10, have stayed close to first lady Michelle Obama on most of her stops in southern Africa this week. The girls went on outings to Nelson Mandela's foundation and several museums and met heroes of the movement against South Africa's system of racial separation. At a day-care center in the Johannesburg shantytown of Zandspruit, many people were surprised to hear the girls' voices. Both read aloud with gusto.