The American Academy of Pediatrics has a similar recommendation, cautioning that "the bottle [should] be given up entirely at around age one and almost certainly by eighteen months."
Other research has suggested that prolonged bottle use may contribute to iron deficiency, according to background information with the study.
For the study, the researchers accounted for other factors that could influence obesity in 5-year-olds, including having an obese mother, socioeconomic status, whether kids were breast-fed as infants, and the timing of the introduction of solid foods. (They did not have information on the children's physical activity.)
Even when controlling for those factors, children who drank from a bottle at age 2 were more likely to be obese than kids who'd graduated to a cup, the researchers said.
Bottle-feeding or breast-feeding infants is necessary during the first year of life to provide adequate nutrition during a time of rapid growth, said Dr. Roya Samuels, a pediatrician at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.
Between 4 and 6 months of age, babies should begin eating solid foods, which will gradually become the child's main source of nourishment, Samuels said. A typical 1-year-old needs only about 10 to 16 ounces of whole milk per day, in addition to a "healthy assortment of table foods," she said. Parents should limit fruit and vegetable juices to no more than 4 ounces a day and the remainder of liquids consumed should be water, she added.
"If parents continue bottle-feeding into the toddler period, it is likely children will be consuming too many calories during the course of the day, leading to excessive weight gain into childhood," Samuels said, noting that this new study is among the first to track children over time to determine how prolonged bottle use may affe
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