Preventing obesity

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7380.102 (Published 11 January 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:102

Prevention starts in infancy

  1. Carol M Campbell, clinical medical officer, community paediatrics (cmacampbell@bigfoot.com)
  1. Community Paediatric Department, Foyle H&SST, Bridgeview House, Gransha Park, Londonderry BT47 1TG
  2. Kennedy-Galton Centre, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow HA1 3UJ
  3. University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain

    EDITOR—Crawford in his editorial on population strategies to prevent obesity has not mentioned an important factor in the aetiology of obesity: the method by which infants are fed.1

    Von Kries et al found that a history of three to five months of exclusive breast feeding was associated with a 35% reduction in obesity at the age of 5 to 6 years, which was not accounted for by social factors, lifestyle, etc.2 They discuss the evidence for a programming effect of breast feeding in preventing obesity and being overweight in later life. Gilman et al found that infants who were fed breast milk more than infant formula milk, or who were breast fed for longer periods, had a lower risk of being overweight during older childhood and adolescence.3

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    These results are consistent with those of the DARLING study, which showed that infants who received no milk other than breast milk in the first 12 months were lighter than formula fed infants, though of similar …

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