Everywhere you look, there's another article about the growing rate of childhood obesity. As they say, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree--you don't have to look far to see that obesity is not only a problem for children--it's also a big problem for their parents. But there are also overweight children who have normal weight parents who eat a healthy diet. What's going on here?
Several recent studies may offer a clue. How you feed your baby in the first months of life may set them up for being overweight later. (Babies can also be "programmed" for being overweight during pregnancy.) A recent study in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that almost a third of infants could be categorized as overweight or obese by the age of 9 months. A study in Pediatrics found that babies fed a Protein Hydrolysate formula had slower weight gains than those fed regular cow's milk formula. Study authors are not sure what caused this effect; the protein content or amino acid profile, which varied between the two formulas.
Should we be putting babies on a diet? No! But we should be looking a little closer at how we feed babies, putting more emphasis on breastfeeding and how the nutrient makeup of infant formula could program a child's future health.
For more tips on preventing childhood obesity, starting early, check out my book Baby Bites!