Limiting prolonged bottle use in children may be an effective way to help prevent obesity, say US medicos.
The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, analyzed data from 6,750 children to estimate the association between bottle use at 24 months of age and the risk of obesity at 5.5 years of age.
Of the children studied, 22 percent were prolonged bottle users, meaning that at 2 years of age they used a bottle as their primary drink container and/or were put to bed with a calorie-containing bottle. Nearly 23 percent of the prolonged bottle users were obese by the time they were 5.5 years old.
"Children who were still using a bottle at 24 months were approximately 30 percent 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," noted researcher Robert Whitaker, from Temple University.
The research team believes that bottles encourage the child to consume too many calories. "A 24-month-old girl of average weight and height who is put to bed with an 8-ounce bottle of whole milk would receive approximately 12 percent of her daily caloric needs from that bottle," said co-researcher Rachel Gooze. Weaning children from the bottle by the time they are 1 year of age is unlikely to cause harm and may prevent obesity, she suggests.
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Source: The Journal of Pediatrics