Thu, 30 Nov 2023

Washington [US], October 2 (ANI): New research has connected newborn formula and the early introduction of fizzy drinks to higher levels of body fat later in childhood.

The research was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

Children who were not given soda before 18 months also had a lower fat mass at the age of nine.

The finding supports the theory that the way a child is fed in infancy may be linked to their susceptibility to obesity later in life.

"Numerous prior studies have examined the link between infant feeding and child overweight or obesity risk based on body mass index (BMI)," said lead researcher Catherine Cohen, of University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, USA. "However, BMI is a crude measure of adiposity in childhood. In this study, we aimed to expand on this prior research by examining associations of infant feeding practices with a more precise measure of childhood adiposity (percent fat mass).

Dr Cohen and colleagues analysed data on over 700 mother-child pairs who were taking part in Healthy Start1, a longitudinal cohort study into how a mother's lifestyle and environment during pregnancy can affect her child's growth and development. The mothers had an average age of 29 years atrecruitment, 51% of the infants were boys.

At interviews when their offspring were six and 18 months old, the mothers were asked about feeding practices, including the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding versus formula feeding and the age when their children were introduced to complementary foods, a term covering solids/any liquid other than breast milk or formula. The researchers then grouped the infants according to the duration of breastfeeding (6 months or more vs. less than 6 months); age at which their baby was introduced to complementary foods (at or before 4 months or 5 months and over); age at which they were introduced to soda (18 months or more vs. less than 18 months).

More than half of the infants (65 per cent) were breastfed for at least six months, 73 per cent were introduced to complementary foods at 5 months or older, and 86 per cent were introduced to soda after 18 months.

Percentage fat mass (proportion of total weight that can be attributed to body fat) was assessed twice. During the first assessment (median age of five years), it was 19.7 per cent, on average. During the second assessment (median age of nine years), it was 18.1 per cent, on average.

Infant feeding patterns were not associated with differences in body fat at the age of five.

However, shorter breastfeeding duration and early soda introduction were associated with faster increases in body fat across the two visits in childhood and, thus, a higher percentage of body fat at the age of nine.

Infants who were breastfed for less than 6 months had 3.5% more body fat, on average, at age nine, than those who were breastfed for 6 months or more.

Dr Cohen said: "While this study cannot elucidate the potential mechanisms at play, previous research suggests that the link between breastfeeding and obesity risk may be related to differences in the nutrient composition of human milk versus infant formula. Differences in appetite regulation and the impact of the human milk on the infant's microbiome are also being investigated as potential biological effects." (ANI)

More Connecticut News

Access More

Sign up for Hartford News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!