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Infantile Overnutrition in the First Year of Life: A Field Study in Dudley, Worcestershire

Br Med J 1972; 4 doi: (Published 02 December 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;4:507
  1. A. Shukla,
  2. H. A. Forsyth,
  3. Charlotte M. Anderson,
  4. S. M. Marwah


    A survey of feeding patterns and nutrient intake in relation to the growth of 300 normal infants up to 1 year of age in Dudley, Worcestershire, highlights a problem of overnutrition in the group; 50 (16·7%) were found to be suffering from infantile obesity and a further 83 (27·7%) were overweight.

    During the first three months of life the daily energy intakes of 136 cal/kg body weight for boys and 149 for girls were markedly greater than the level of 120/kg recommended by the Department of Health and Social Security. This coincided with the early addition of solid foods to a full milk intake. 119 babies (39·7%) were offered solids before they were 4 weeks old and 280 (93·3%) before 13 weeks of age. Some babies had solids from the first week after birth. Protein intake was persistently high throughout the first year, and the mean intake of 32·7 g/day was much greater than the intake of 20 g for infants aged up to 1 year recommended by the Department of Health. Standards for fat and carbohydrate intake are not available but in comparison with the levels reported in breast-fed babies intake of fat and carbohydrate was high in the first three months and came closer to the desired level for the former and remained slightly high for the latter in the subsequent age quarters.

    The relation of childhood and subsequent adult obesity to infant feeding patterns is not yet clear, but there is a high correlation between obese parents and obese and overweight babies; had these babies not been overfed the condition might have been prevented.