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Giving Baby Solid Foods Too Early Linked to Obesity Later
Date:2/7/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Babies who were formula-fed and introduced to solid foods before they were 4 months old were more likely to be obese when they were 3, researchers report.

The timing of solid foods didn't increase the odds of becoming obese in youngsters who were breast-fed. But among children who were never breast-fed -- or who stopped breast-feeding before the age of 4 months -- introducing solid foods before 4 months of age was linked to a sixfold increase in the risk of obesity, according to the research, which was published online Feb. 7 and will appear in the March print issue of Pediatrics.

"Our study results suggest that adhering to the current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines of waiting till 4 months to introduce solids has the potential to reduce the risk of obesity later on," explained study author Dr. Susanna Y. Huh, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children's Hospital Boston.

Early feeding practices are believed to set the stage for later eating patterns and weight status later in life. But, previous studies hadn't provided consistent answers as to whether or not the timing of the introduction of solid foods could make a difference in a child's weight later in life, according to background information in the study, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

For this study, the researchers reviewed data on 847 children enrolled in Project Viva, a long-term study of women and their offspring. The women were initially recruited before the birth of their babies, and they were followed for at least three years.

The researchers found that 67 percent of the children were breast-fed and 32 percent were formula-fed. When the youngsters were 3 years old, 9 percent were considered obese.

Babies who were fed formula, and then introduced to solids foods before they were 4 months old, were 6.3 times more l
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