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Research: Formula-Fed Babies At Higher Risk For Obesity

By Dennis Douda, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Good eating habits need to start young -- really young, as in the first months of infancy.

In a new study from Children's Hospital Boston, pediatrics followed nearly 900 children.

Those on formula, who were given solid foods before 4 months of age were six times more likely to be obese by the time they turned 3 than those being breastfed.

It seems to be another case where the breastfed baby has an advantage. Even if solid foods are introduced to breastfed babies  before 4-months, there was no increased risk for obesity, the study shows.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says breast milk alone gives babies the best nutrition possible.

"Children don't need solid food prior to four months. The breast milk and the formula is really enough for them," said Alanna Levine, a pediatrician.

The recommendation is to begin introducing solid foods at 6 months including infant cereal, teething biscuits and fruit.

While 75 percent of mothers start out breastfeeding, only 13 percent exclusively breastfeed for the full six months.

Earlier this month, the U.S. surgeon general strongly urged an increase in breastfeeding.  Breastfed babies have a lower incidence of ear infections, pneumonia, asthma and allergies.

They also enjoy a lower lifetime risk of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.

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