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Delaying solid food for babies may cut obesity risk


Children have a higher risk of being obese at the age of three if they were fed solid foods before they turned four months old, research has shown.

University College London scientists found 26% of babies who were given solids before four months were overweight aged three, against 22% who did not receive solids until after four months.

At five years old, the proportions were 24% for children fed solids before and 20% for those fed solids after four months, and children who were breastfed were also less likely to be overweight.

The study found 23% of babies who were not breastfed for four months or more became overweight, compared with 18% who were.

More than 12,000 UK children took part in the Millennium Cohort Study, which found 36% of black Caribbean and black African children were overweight at the age of five - a far higher proportion than other ethnicities.

About 21% of white children were too heavy when they started primary school, and 17% of Pakistani children. Black children were also more likely to be overweight aged three, with 30% compare with 10% of Indian youngsters.

Geographically, children had higher risks of being overweight in Northern Ireland and Wales than in England and Scotland.


Readers' comments (2)

  • I find this hard to find valid when you consider that up to relatively recently (15yrs??) all babies were weaned at around 10 - 12 weeks.

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  • I disagree with the above comment, my son is 28 years old and the advice at that time was not to wean babies before they were 4 months old (to prevent ceoliac disease). the current thinking is not to wean babies before 6 months but I think this is to long to wait before introducing fruit puree etc.

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