Prolonged Bottle-feeding Can Make Kids Obese
Latest research reveals that prolonged bottle-feeding of toddlers can make them obese by the time they start kindergarten. The researchers studied the bottle feeding habits of about 6,750 children in the US. They found that kids who were still being bottle-fed at age two, were much more likely to become obese by the time they reach age five.
Effects of Bottle-feeding
This research suggests that babies should be weaned away from bottle-feeding by the time they reach their first birthday to prevent obesity. Many pediatricians recommend parents to use toddler-friendly small cups instead of bottles to feed their babies after they reach the age of 12 months. Bottle-feeding at night can lead to teeth cavities and also iron deficiency. These findings of the research conducted at Philadelphia’s Temple University were published in Pediatrics journal.
Prolonged Bottle-feeding is a Risk Factor for Obesity
The researchers found that 20% of 2-year-old toddlers were still being bottle-fed. And among these long-time bottle feeders, about 20% ended up becoming obese by age five. The researchers also analyzed other factors such as if the child had been breastfed, family education and income, and mother’s weight. The most prominent risk factor was found to be prolonged bottle-feeding, which increased the risk of obesity by 33%.
Bottle-feeding Can Add Extra Calories
The researchers say bottle-feeding can add extra calories. The toddlers may also be over-feeding using bottles since they may consider them as a source that provides comfort. In fact, bottle-feeding may provide a substantial amount of extra calories, opine the researchers.
Start Vegetables Early
Prolonged use of the bottle can also affect the toddlers’ daily diet. Many parents confess they are unable to make their kids eat vegetables. Health experts advise parents to start introducing foods of varied colors, textures and tastes in their toddler’ diets. They say parents can start giving solid foods to their babies after they reach the age of six months. Till then, the mother should breast feed the child to lower the risk of obesity.
Bottle to Cup
Health experts say this study adds bottle-feeding to the list of risk factors for childhood obesity which include soda, junk food and fast food. Though it can be hard to wean away babies from the bottle, parents need to take this important step. For help, they can consult their pediatrician to smoothly transition from bottle to cup.