More than 8,000 families contributed to this study conducted by researchers from Brigham Young University USA. It showed 2.5 times increased risk of obesity in babies who were bottle fed compared to those breastfed for the first six months of life. Particularly worrying and most problematic was the tendency to put babies to sleep with a bottle and introduction of solids before 4 months of age.
The conclusion from the researchers bears repeating. “The health community is looking to the origins of the obesity epidemic, and more and more scholars are looking toward early childhood. I don’t think this is some nascent, unimportant time period, it’s very critical.”
And I would add that while formula feeding and early solids are two factors, high-fat, high-sugar preconception and pregnancy diet and compromised gut microbiota in the mother are two more - all closely linked, but determining factors for obesity and a range of other chronic health conditions. This comment from the International Probiotic Association makes the case cogently. “Probiotics are at the heart of a renaissance in health care. As never before, they are being recognized for major roles in both prevention and cure of disease.”
And of course, ensuring gut health, fresh, green, wholefood diet, successful breastfeeding and confidence to introduce solids later rather than sooner starts with knowing the right steps and taking them well before pregnancy.