Stories about: Childhood obesity prevention

Starting solids too early may increase obesity risk

The study's authors, Susanna Huh and Sheryl Rifas-Shiman

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a new study online today that reinforces its previous recommendations that parents wait to introduce solid foods to their babies until they are at least 4 months old. The study was co-led by Susanna Huh, MD, MPH, of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, and Sheryl Rifas-Shiman, MPH, a research associate at Harvard Medical School/ Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.

Huh and Rifas-Shiman’s research followed 847 children from birth, and found that among formula-fed infants, those who were given solid food before 4 months were six times more likely to be obese by the time they turned 3 than those whose parents waited until 4 or 5 months to feed them solids. Interestingly, the timing of solid food introduction didn’t seem to be related to the risk of childhood obesity in children who were breastfed.

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