With obesity rates on the rise in the Western world, much research is focused on childhood weight gain to try and tackle the problem before people start a lifelong battle with their size. A new study in the United States suggests prolonged bottle feeding can increase the risk of child obesity.
The Journal of Pediatrics reports on a large national study undertaken in 2001, where 6750 children were studied to estimate the association between bottle use at 24 months of age and the risk of obesity at 5.5 years of age.
They found 22% were prolonged bottle users, meaning that at two years of age they used a bottle as their primary drink container and/or were put to bed with a calorie-containing bottle.
And there was a clear connection - almost a quarter, 23%, of the prolonged bottle users were obese by the time they were more than five years old.
“Children who were still using a bottle at 24 months were approximately 30% more likely to be obese at 5.5 years, even after accounting for other factors such as the mother’s weight, the child’s birth weight, and feeding practices during infancy,”the report said.
The team recommend health professionals consider advising parents to stop using a bottle after a child’s first birthday.