Using a Bottle at Age 2 Can Mean Obese by Kindergarten, Study Finds
Researchers have found many clues as to what helps make kids fat, and the latest is serving your toddler a bottle.
ABC News reports kids who are still drinking a bottle of milk at the age of 2 could end up obese by kindergarten.
In the journal Pediatrics, Temple University researchers say weaning children from the bottle by 12- to 14- months could help lower U.S. childhood obesity rates, according to the network.
One 8-ounce bottle of whole milk adds up to 150 calories -- that's 12 percent of the daily dietary needs of a healthy 2-year-old child, ABC reports.
Looking at data from 6,750 participants -- all born in 2001 -- in the Ohio Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, the network says more than one in five kids continued to use a bottle by the time they were 2.
At 5 1/2, nearly 23 percent of those bottle users were obese, compared to 16.1 percent of those who went off the bottle at a younger age, ABC reports, adding that factors including Mom's weight, birth weight, breast-feeding and others were accounted for.
"If the bottle use is going on too long, it's serving a purpose for which it was never intended," Keith Ayoob, a registered dietician and director of the nutrition clinic at the Rose R. Kennedy Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells the network.
Using a bottle too long also can lead to teeth decay, Ayoob tells ABC. He says two glasses of milk a day offers "a primary source of protein and a whole bunch of other nutrients," but otherwise, kids should drink water.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.