child obesity

Doesn’t Matter When You Introduce Solid Foods; It Has No Effect On Child Obesity

Although many parental concerns have been raised that introducing solid foods to babies too early can increase their risk for obesity, a recent study says the timing does not matter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in the new study that whether babies are given solid food for the first time earlier than four months or later than six months, age of first solid food appears to have no effect on risk for obesity.

Despite a 2013 CDC study suggesting starting solid foods too early had a dramatic increase in risk for obesity, the new study followed babies for up to six years, tracking their weight and development — finding solid food starts had no effect.

“Given the conflicting findings from previous research about whether the early introduction of solid foods increased the chances of a child becoming obese, this important large-sample long-term study from the CDC raises this key question anew,” Dr. Tom Baranowski, a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine and editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, said in a press release.

For the study, researchers recruited 1,181 infants who participated in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, following them from birth to 6 years old.

Overall, 12 percent of children in the study were obese at age 6.

The researchers report that timing of introduction of solid foods and obesity at 6 years old differed significantly as 15.4% of children introduced to solids before four months were obese, while 9.9% of those introduced between four and six months were obese.

This difference is considered not statistically significant.

Despite this difference, as well as a smaller gap between children introduced to solids between 4 and 6 months old and children eating their first solids after six months, the researchers say when other life variables are considered, timing of solid foods makes no difference.

I’m so happy to hear about this new study because many of the new parents I speak with have these same concerns. I personally usually recommend to start giving stage 1 rice/oatmeal cereals around the second month of newborn life, as I have found that this helps with digestion (and colic), as well as sleeping through the night for a newborn/infant.

Question for you…

When did you introduce your newborn to solid foods and why? Did you see any signs that made you think that they were ready?

Did you see any signs that made you think that they were ready?

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