Fat and Not Afraid

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Breast is Best...only until 4 months?

January 14, 2011

Msnbc is reporting this morning on a study done in Britain about babies and breastfeeding.  In it, the researchers assert that babies can be started on solid foods (cereal and the like) as early as four months.  This flies in the face of most established research on the subject, including that done by the World Health Organization. What does this have to do with fat acceptance? Well, knowing the general sentiment towards fat, and especially fat kids, in the UK, I was NOT surprised at all to see this passage from the news report (quoting the study) and a bit from the study itself:

"Bitter tastes, in particular, may be important in the later acceptance of green leafy vegetables, which may potentially affect later food preferences with influence on health outcomes such as obesity," the report said, quoting the study. [...]

Outcomes in the longer term

A 6.5 year follow-up of the Belarus PROBIT cohort29 showed no effect of exclusive breast feeding for six months (versus three months) on blood pressure, cognition, atopy, and dental caries. However, the six month group had higher indices of fatness. The authors speculated that faster growing infants, destined to be fatter children, might be breast fed longer because of mothers’ confidence in their milk supply, although contrary evidence suggests faster growing infants receive solids earlier. Thus, the study could suggest that more prolonged exclusive breast feeding predicts later fatness. However, in a Danish birth cohort,30 earlier introduction of solids was associated with late emergence of a higher risk of overweight at 42 years. Both studies were observational, and randomised trials will help resolve this issue."

Oh no! Not fat babies!!! Worst thing EVAR.  Still, I'm glad that the authors of this study are stuck in the speculation and contradicting information stage, kinda like fat in general, right? The obesity paradox continues, but it worries me that it's increasingly being focused on younger and younger people.  This last bit from the MSNBC article gives me hope, however because midwives RULE.

"However, Gillian Smith, of the U.K.'s Royal College of Midwives, told Sky News that digestion problems could occur as a result of early feeding.

"There is a real danger of early feeding and the baby's gut not being mature enough to be able to digest that," she told the broadcaster.

Janet Fyle, also of Britain's Royal College of Midwives, told the BBC that she believed the study's recommendation was "a retrograde step," saying it "plays into the hands of the baby-food industry."

"There is evidence that some babies do die in developed countries from inappropriate young child feeding, such as the introduction of solid foods earlier before their swallowing mechanism is mature enough or they have fully developed the capability to cope with solid foods," she added."

She's right, of course.  Digging to the very end of the study, I found this: MF, AL, and DCW have performed consultancy work and/or received research funding from companies manufacturing infant formulas and baby foods within the past 3 years...

Conflict of interest, much?

 

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