Parents' habits may be to blame for child’s obesity risk

Baby learning to drink from a bottle, shallow DOF. Focus is on the bottle.

Baby learning to drink from a bottle, shallow DOF. Focus is on the bottle.  (Scott Dunlap)

Parents’ feeding and activity practices may increase a child’s risk of obesity later in life, reported Medical News Today.

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers analyzed the parenting styles of 863 low-income parents and their infants. All of the parents adopted some feeding and activity behaviors that have been tied to an increased risk of childhood obesity.

Obesity-linked feeding habits included exclusive use of formula (45 percent of participants), introducing solid foods before 4 months of age (12 percent), putting infants to bed with their bottles (43 percent), feeding their infants when they cried (20 percent), and propping bottles up instead of holding them by hand (23 percent).

Past research has also associated watching television with childhood obesity. The study found that 90 percent of infants were exposed to television, and 50 percent of children were actively placed in front of the television to watch it.

"These results from a large population of infants – especially the high rates of television watching – teach us that we must begin obesity prevention even earlier,” said study author Dr. Eliana M. Perrin of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Childhood obesity has been associated with a higher risk of being obese as an adult – a condition that can contribute to a variety of health issues, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer.

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