What Makes Kids Fat? Here's the Latest Answer

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, In The News

Feeding babies solid food before 4 months can lead to childhood obesity, a new study says.

Feeding babies solid food before 4 months can lead to childhood obesity, a new study says. Credit: Getty

Why do kids get fat?

What a dumb question. The answer is obvious: lack of sleep. No, that's not right. Kids actually get fat because their mothers work too much.

Wait just a french-fried minute. Who told you that? That's ridiculous. It's not that their mothers work too much, it's that they drink too much. Parents addicted to alcohol have kids addicted to Fritos.

Case closed.

But what about baby formula? Studies show feeding babies with formula puts them at greater risk for obesity.

On the other hand ... Aiiieee!

Study after study after study these days tell us why children are turning into Jabba the Hutts. How many studies can there be? When will this mania end?

Not today. A new study says starting infants on solid foods before the age of 4 months puts them at risk of winning an Orson Welles look-alike contest.

WebMD reports researchers -- led by Dr. Susanna Huh of Children's Hospital Boston -- found that tots who started eating solid foods before 4 months were six times more likely to be obese by age 3 than infants who started solid foods later.

That's assuming their mothers don't drink or work late, of course.

Writing in the journal Pediatrics, researchers say childhood obesity is the (you know the words; sing along) leading public health problem facing children. They add that their results suggest prevention strategies need to be (that's right) implemented as soon as possible.

"The first few months after birth may be a critical window for the development of obesity," Huh writes in Pediatrics. "Parental feeding practices during early infancy, such as the timing of solid food introduction, may be one key determinant of childhood obesity."

Huh and her team say this goes to show you should follow prevailing wisdom and keep babies off solid foods for their first four months. It may also be a good idea to make sure they get enough sleep. Meanwhile, stay off the booze and don't work too late.

You might also want to choose your grandparents wisely. Obesity could also be partly hereditary.

Do all this and make sure your child eats right and exercises regularly, and your family may be spared the ravages of childhood obesity.

Unless your kid gets fat anyway. In that case, what the heck is going on? Someone ought to do a study.

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