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AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

The Big Question: Is It Dangerous to Put Your Baby in Your Bed?

Aired May 3, 2002 - 08:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: A big question this morning, is it dangerous to put your baby in your bed? Baby sleeping with mom and dad, the so-called family bed, may be cozy, but a new report says don't do it.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here to explain why. Are kids getting hurt?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's very disturbing actually, and we're going to show some pictures with a doll of what happened to these kids that killed them. It's bad news if you sleep with your kid.

Let's take a look, 180 children died in a three-year period, '99 to 2001, things like, for example, getting trapped between a bureau and a bed or, for example, here between a mattress and a headboard, here between a mattress and a foot board, I believe. Here this is really awful. These are spindles so the baby's head could get through. That's a doll obviously.

This is the right way to put your baby to bed, and that is in a crib on your back. This is 180 deaths that's being reported today, '99, 2000, 2001. Almost all of them were children under age one. So we're talking really little children.

The message from the Consumer Product Safety, don't ever put your child in your own bed.

ZAHN: There are still a number of parenting experts out there who think this is a good idea, a way to bond with your child, and you know the nights you and I both have had where you're getting up every hour, and it's the only way sometimes you can sleep. They go to bed for an hour right next to you.

COHEN: Exactly, at 4:00 in the morning, when your child is screaming and won't stay in her crib by herself, I've done it, you've done it, I'm sure everyone has done it, you put the child in with you.

I was talking with the son of Dr. William Sears. Dr. Sears has written many parenting books, and his wife and his son work with him and they really advocate the family bed. They think it's a great idea. They say, look, this happens in other cultures, people do this all the time, and even in this culture people do it, maybe not all the time, but certainly on kind of a one night here-or-there basis.

Why is the Consumer Product Safety commission saying don't do it? As you saw in that video with the doll getting stuck, there's obvious things you can do to avoid that happening. Don't have that much room between your mattress and the headboard.

ZAHN: Is it then OK if you make those accommodations?

COHEN: I can't say whether it's OK. All I can say is the Consumer Product Safety Commission, who studied this, said absolutely do not do it. There are several expert who say that's unfair, we shouldn't be saying that. We should just be saying how to do it right. But the government is pretty clear, do not do it.

ZAHN: The other thing that has caught your attention of course, the numbers that will shock you, that the number of this people in this country that are obese, and you're doing a special this weekend on that?

COHEN: We have a one hour special called "Fat Chance." We're going to take you through some tips on how to lose weight. First we'll meet two people who went from being really fat to really fit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The struggle to stay fit is a decades old battle. Driven to find solutions, people have put their bodies through all sorts of strange contortions, trying one newfangled diet after another, most of which end in failure because we're unable to do the simplest thing of all, put down the fork.

DR. JIM HILL, CENTER FOR HUMAN NUTRITION, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: All of our physiology is geared up to eat when food's available. That's worked for most of our history. The problem is it's not working now.

DR RUDOLPH LEIBEL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: The body chronically detects that you are at a lower body weight and tries to make adjustments that cause you to regain the weight.

COHEN: And that helps explain why 95 percent of people who lose weight gain it back again. Look at all these modern conveniences that are keeping us lazy and fat, even a contraption that does the walking for you. Is it any wonder that obesity among American adults has nearly doubled since 1980?

HILL: The epidemic of obesity is a byproduct of our success as a society.

COHEN: So now that we've given you all this bad news, our biological tendency to eat, eat, eat, a society that helps keep us lazy, how in the world does anyone ever lose weight?

Successful weight loss in this country is so unusual that Professor Hill keeps a list of people who've managed to do it. We asked two of his success stories, Karen Brown and Robert Romaniello, to tell us how they do it. Considering that six in 10 Americans are overweight or obese, we figured they had some lessons to teach us. Karen Brown used to weigh 194 pounds.

KAREN BROWN, SUCCESSFUL DIETER: I would sit and eat a pound and a forth of Oreos, which is the entire package, and a gallon of chocolate milk in one sitting.

COHEN: Then six years ago she slimmed down to 124 pounds and she's been there ever since.

ROBERT ROMANIELLO, SUCCESSFUL DIETER: There's enough for another half of me in here.

COHEN: Robert Romaniello used to weigh 218 pounds.

ROMANIELLO: I was a junk food junkie. I was a couch potato. I lived on tacos and at quick food places and did no exercises at all.

COHEN: Then five years ago, he lost 60 pounds. There are 3,000 people like Robert and Karen in Professor Hill's group and they tend to have seven things in common, seven things they did to lose weight and keep it off.

BROWN: Being able to feel good about who I am, that's the success in this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Look at her! Doesn't she look great?

COHEN: It's fantastic.

ZAHN: Now, I know you want everybody to watch your special, but you got to give us a little preview of what they did to accomplish this.

COHEN: I'll give you four out of the seven. That's more than half. You have to wait for the last three.

ZAHN: But here are the four of the seven tips that we'll be talking about in the "CNN PRESENTS."

The first one is expect failure, but keep trying. The second one is don't deny yourself goodies, or you'll just drive yourself crazy. The third one is weigh yourself often, so can you keep track of how well or not well you're doing. The fourth one is exercise an hour a day. Got to do it. It can be anything from walking to running to whatever.

The first two are pretty self explanatory, the second one I want to talk about a little bit. Expect failure but keep trying. One of the things I spent a lot of time with Karen Brown and Robert Romaniello, the folks you just met, and they failed so many times. In the end, they ended up losing somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 pounds each, but they just goofed it up many, many times. The second one, which is, don't deny yourself is (UNINTELLIGIBLE), if you're to say no to chocolate cookies the rest of your life, you're going to crazy and you're going to bend. So have one cookie, don't have 13, have one cookie.

ZAHN: Or take one day a week where you pig out and don't make amends for it the rest of the week.

COHEN: Balance yourself out, exactly. So if you want to heart last three tips, this is where you're going to find it, 8:00 p.m., Saturday night, "CNN PRESENTS" called "Fat Chance." Elizabeth Cohen will be hosting that.

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