A study published online today by Pediatrics reports that babies who were formula-fed and introduced to solid foods before they were four months old are more likely to be obese by age three. The study also found that the timing of introducing solid food did not increase the likelihood of the babies becoming obese if they were breast-fed.
The researchers reviewed data on over 800 children enrolled in Project Viva , which is a long-term study focused on women and their children.
Children who were never breast fed or who stopped breast feeding before four months old, and were introduced to solid foods before four months old were six times more likely to become obese. Babies who were fed formula and then introduced to solid foods before four months old were 6.3 times more likely to be obese by age three. Researchers also said that when infants were breast-fed the timing of the introduction of solid foods didn’t seem to impact future obesity.
The researchers said that the results suggest that sticking to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines of waiting until the infant is four months old to introduce solid foods could potentially reduce the risk of obesity later on.
Parents should introduce food to their infants between four and six months old according to the AAP. It is important to introduce cereals and vegetables before sweet foods. For more information on nutrition guidelines for small children, click here .