Bottle-Toting Toddlers: Are They Prone to Obesity?
by New York Behavioral Health Staff Member
A study just reported in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that children who are still drinking from a baby bottle at age 2 and beyond are more likely to be overweight at 5 years of age and in adulthood than those who “give up” the bottle by one year.
Reactions to these results (in the popular press) are slightly mixed, with the majority of readers pointing to later consumption of fast foods, junk food, etc. as the chief influence on obesity. Here are some findings of the study, however, funded by the U.S Dept. of Agriculture. Of the children who still sipped from a bottle at age two, nearly 30% could be considered obese by the age of 5½, while only 16% of those drinking out of cups (going into their third year) were obese by that age.
Dissenters should take note that the study did, in fact, control for mother’s weight, birth weight of the baby, and feeding practices. Even so, the researchers caution that the findings do not prove that prolonged bottle use causes obesity; there may be other important factors influencing both. But it’s still something for young parents to consider in providing nutrition and comfort to their little ones.