Researchers found that kids who were still bottle fed at age two were one-third more likely to obese by age 5.
To investigate, researchers studied more than 6500 children and found that 1 in 5 were still using a bottle at the age of 24 months, either at night or all the time. And of those children, roughly 1 in 5 were obese at the age of 5, versus about 1 in 6 children who'd been weaned earlier.
The researchers looked at a number of factors that could affect a child's risk of obesity, including the mother's weight, family income and education, and whether the child had ever been breastfed. They found that prolonged bottle-feeding itself was linked to a 33 percent increase in children's risk of obesity.
Researchers say their findings, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, raise the possibility that weaning babies from the bottle around their first birthday could help prevent excessive weight gain. Previous studies have linked prolonged bottle-feeding beyond 15 months to two years of age to excessive milk intake and iron deficiency.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants who sleep with a bottle containing milk, juice, soda, or other sweetened liquids are at a high risk of developing tooth decay. The Academy recommends that the bottle be given up entirely at around age one and almost certainly by eighteen months.
For more information on when and how to discontinue bottle-feeding, click here.
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