Obesity in kids: Is bottle-feeding to blame?

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Obesity in a bottle?

Letting a toddler continue to drink from a baby bottle may be a big fat mistake. Kids who stay glued to the bottle after age two are more likely to become obese, according to a new study.

Scientists at Temple University tracked about 7,000 babies born in 2001, and found more than one in five were still sipping a bottle at age two. Of these kids, almost 30% were obese by the time they were 5 1/2.

Only 16 percent of kids who had moved on to cups were found to be obese.

The authors of the study - published in the May 5 issue of the "Journal of Pediatrics" - think bottle-feeding encourages kids to consume too many calories.

"A 24-month-old girl of average weight and height who is put to bed with an 8-ounce bottle of whole milk would receive approximately 12% of her daily caloric needs from that bottle," study author Rachel Gooze, a doctoral student at the university, said in a written statement.

That's a lot of calories for a bedtime snack.

When is the best time to take kids off the bottle? When they can sit up by themselves or use a spoon - usually around 12-18 months - say doctors at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers tips for weaning your toddler off the bottle.