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Baby knows best! Study shows baby-led weaning promotes healthy food preferences
Date:2/9/2012

A new study by psychologists at The University of Nottingham has shown that babies who are weaned using solid finger food are more likely to develop healthier food preferences and are less likely to become overweight as children than those who are spoon-fed pureed food.

The research just published by BMJ Open set out to examine the impact of weaning style on food preferences and Body Mass Index in early childhood in a sample of 155 children.

Co-author of the study, Associate Professor in the School of Psychology, Dr Ellen Townsend, said: "Although numerous studies have focused on when to introduce solid foods into an infant's diet there is a dearth of evidence concerning the impact of different weaning methods on food preferences and health prospects. We believe our report is the first piece of research to examine whether weaning method can influence food preferences and the future health of the child."

Co-researcher Dr Nicola Pitchford, added: "Our study has produced some very interesting findings. The research suggests that baby-led weaning has a positive impact on the liking of foods that form the building blocks of healthy nutrition, such as carbohydrates. Baby-led weaning promotes healthy food preferences in early childhood which may protect against obesity."

The researchers enlisted the Nottingham Toddler Lab, based in the School of Psychology, and various relevant websites to recruit parent volunteers for the study. They all had children between the ages of 20 months and 6 years and agreed to complete a questionnaire about their experiences of infant feeding and weaning style. 92 parents used baby-led weaning in which the baby is allowed to feed him or herself from a range of solid finger food after the age of 6 months. 63 parents surveyed used traditional spoon-feeding in which they fed their babies smooth purees and increased the texture and range of foods as they grew.

The study also examined the c
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Contact: Emma Rayner
emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-951-5793
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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