Babies spoon-fed purée more likely to be obese: report

British Researchers have published findings that babies who are fed pureed food rather than solid finger foods are more likely to be obese.

The researchers from the University of Nottingham in Central England followed 155 children and studied the links between the foods they were fed and their obesity rates.

The "Baby Knows Best"? report, published in the BMJ Open Journal, was conducted on children between 20 months and six years old who were fed by their parents who recorded responses to 151 different foods.

The 63 who were spoon fed pureed food were more likely to be obese and also developed a “significantly increased liking for carbohydrates,” while the 92 who were weaned on finger foods and fed themselves ate less and preferred sweeter-tasting foods.

"Our results suggest that infants weaned through the baby-led approach learn to regulate their food intake in a manner which leads to a lower BMI [body mass index] and a preference for healthy foods like carbohydrates," the researchers wrote.

"This has implications for combating the well-documented rise of obesity in contemporary societies."

The researchers believe the findings indicate that when a child is able to regulate their own food intake, they do not overeat as much and they develop a taste for "foods that form the building blocks of healthy nutrition, such as carbohydrates."

“Children weaned using the baby-led method are more likely to encounter carbohydrates in their whole food format earlier than spoon-fed children as these foods are ideal early finger foods (eg, toast and pitta breads) so age of introduction may impact on behaviour,” the report said.

“However, our data show that exposure per se did not influence preference for carbohydrates, so another factor must be driving preference here.

"Presenting carbohydrates to infants in their whole food format, such as toast, rather than a pureed form may highlight awareness of perceptual features (such as texture) that is masked when food is pureed.”

The research did find, however, that the ‘baby-led approach’ did produce a higher chance of babies being underfed than the spoon fed group and more research is necessary to expand on the findings and their impacts.

Send this to a friend