Feeding Babies With Formula Could Put Kids at Risk for Obesity

Filed under: In The News, Breast-Feeding, Research Reveals: Babies

A new study shows baby formula can lead to childhood obesity. Credit: Getty

If you're planning on feeding your baby infant formula rather than breast milk, first, get ready for an ugly debate with other new moms and random people who will be teeming with insults and accusations that you're "selfish and lazy."

A survey reported by ABC earlier this year showed the two camps are at serious odds when it comes to feeding your child.

But, brace yourself. The battle could get worse. A new study warns that formula puts kids on a path of obesity. The question now, the Los Angeles Times reports, is will this formula make my baby look fat?

The study, published online in the journal Pediatrics finds babies fed a particular kind of infant formula -- cow's milk -- gain more weight than other babies and continue to gain weight faster than their counterparts during the first seven-and-a-half months of life, Pediatrics says.
Researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia explored whether babies would respond differently to formulas based on cow's milk (where proteins are intact) and those made with proteins that are pre-digested, which are easier for some babies to tolerate, the Times reports.

These formulas, known as protein hydrolysate formulas (or PHFs), have about 35 percent more protein than cow's milk formulas. They also have more free amino acids, the study says.

The study followed 56 moms who planned to feed their babies formula. The difference in the groups became apparent after two months, the newspaper reports. By then, the babies receiving cow's milk formula had significantly higher weight-per-length than the babies on PHF formula. By 3-and-a-half months, the cow's milk formula babies also had significantly higher weight-per-age than the PHF babies, whose weight (per length and per age) matched those of breast-fed babies, according to the Times.

What's more, even after the babies started eating solid food, the ones who were fed cow's milk continued to gain weight, according to the newspaper.

This has wider-spread implications, the Times reports, because the most popular formula on the market is cow's milk. Researchers say they will continue to explore the implications of the study.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.