While some parents may be eager to feed their children solid food as early as possible, results of a new study indicate that doing so may increase a child's risk of being obese. The research supports the guidelines suggested by the United States which stipulate that children should not be fed solid food before they reach 4 months.
The research was conducted by a team of scientists from Children's Hospital in Boston, Reuters Health reports, and focused on 850 infants over the course of three years. When the subjects reached six months old, researchers recorded which babies were breastfed, and when the infants' mothers started feeding their children solid food.
The researchers followed up when the subjects reached 3-years-old to determine whether or not they were obese. What they found was that babies who stopped breastfeeding before four months had a one in four chance of becoming obese. Waiting before making the jump to solid food is especially important to babies who are raised on formula, the study found.
"That’s exactly how [adults] get overweight," pediatrician Dr. David McCormick told the news source. "They eat a little bit more than they should every day."
Childhood obesity is among the leading health issues facing youngsters today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years.