In a study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Assistance and Nutrition Research program, Temple University recommended weaning children off the bottle at the right time might help reduce the elevated childhood obesity rates among children and alleviate other health problems. Childhood development specialists recommend weaning your child off the bottle no later than 12 to 14 months of age. Temple University analysts concur with this time table, specifying the age is “ not likely to cause harm and may prevent childhood obesity along with other problems.
Frequently parents make use of the bottle to soothe their babies. Parents are urged to take care of the underlying dietary and hunger demands rather giving in. A child who is still uses the bottle at age two could have a greater risk of being overweight by the time preschool comes around.
For the study at Temple’s Center for Obesity Research and Education in Philadelphia, Dr. Robert Whitaker and Rachel Gooze worked with Sarah Anderson, an epidemiologist from the Ohio State University of Public Health. They analyzed data from 6,750 participants in Ohio in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort. All subjects were born in 2001.
Over 1 in 5 children used a bottle for drinking or bedtime by the age of 2. When the kids were gauged at age 5 ½, about 23 percent of the kids using it for a long period of time were overweight versus 16.1 percent of children who were weaned off at a younger age. Childhood obesity was at the 95th percentile for weight among both boys and girls.
Co-author Keith Ayoob, registered dietician and director of the nutrition facility at the Rose R. Kennedy Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine said parents sometimes use the bottle to manage or maneuver their children’s behavior, stating, “If the bottle use is going on too long, it’s serving a purpose for which it was never intended. Unfortunately that has consequences: they get in the habit of giving the bottle or giving food to manage children’s behavior. It sets up a dynamic of the kids getting food for reasons that have much less to do with hunger or appetite than behavior issues which in turn causes childhood obesity.”
CBS News reports a study that was published in the May 5 issue of the “Journal of Pediatrics. Study author Rachel Gooze said, “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.”
Ayoob recommends parents to see if the child can drink from a cup. If they can, there is no more need to use a bottle. Additionally, prolonged use of a this not only causes childhood obesity, it also can cause tooth decay. This is particularly prevalent when parents fill the bottle with juice or other sugary beverages. Ayoob recommends two cups of milk per day then says, “Let’s get kids used to drinking water. Let’s not feed anything excessively.”
We as parents need to be more proactive in our children’s lives and what is best for them. At times, this can put more burden on us, but at the end, don’t we want to raise healthy kids? We don’t want our kids to grow up and be overweight and have bunch of health issues, not to mention low self-esteem and be teased or bullied in school! Childhood obesity is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with from when children are still young.
Watch this video on Childhood Obesity