Childhood obesity risk affected by weaning

7 February 2011

A child's risk of becoming obese is closely linked to how early - or late - they are weaned onto solid food.

According to a new collaborative research project between the Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard University, the best age to introduce children to solid foods is between four and five months.

They noted that bottle-fed babies who started eating solids before they reached four months were 6.3 times more likely to be obese by the age of three.

Those weaned onto solids after six months were 3.6-times more likely to be obese than children weaned within the recommended timeframe.

The researchers found that the figures did not hold up for babies that were breastfed beyond four months.

Writing in the American journal Pediatrics, the researchers said: "Formula-fed infants may increase their energy intake when solids are introduced."

"Breastfeeding may promote self-regulation of an infant's energy intake," they added.

1, Huh, Susanna. "Timing of Solid Food Introduction and Risk of Obesity in Preschool-Aged Children". Pediatrics. Monday, February 7th 2011.

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