While it may be widely known that breastfeeding is the best way to nourish babies, the specific benefits of breast milk are still being uncovered. A new study just conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that breastfeeding contributes to a lower rate of childhood obesity by up to 25%!
In the U.S., childhood obesity is prevalent with a whopping 18.4% of 6- to 11-year-olds above the obesity marker. Compare this to Europe (where the WHO study was done) where only 3% of children ages six to nine are obese. There are a number of factors that contribute to such high levels of childhood obesity — lifestyle, exercise level, genetics, metabolism, sleep duration, the list goes on. Now, added to the list is whether a child was breastfed or formula fed.
So what is it about formula-fed babies that makes it easier for them to gain more weight as children? In their study, WHO identified several likely factors for how formula plays a role. Exclusive breastfeeding often delays the introduction of solid foods, which can be higher in energy and lead to an increase in fat cells. Pediatricians recommend babies start solids anywhere from four to six months. If you feed your baby with formula, there’s a higher likelihood you’ll introduce your little one to more than just their milk closer to the four-month mark. As a baby’s diet open up to more foods, the chance of those foods being unhealthy increases, too.
There is also evidence that formula-fed babies have higher insulin levels in their blood, which can stimulate fat deposition. This is largely due to the sugar and corn syrup that are added to baby formulas manufactured in the U.S. (even the organic ones!). Here at the Organic Baby Food Shop, we proudly offer formulas with no added sugars or corn syrup from European brands you can trust: Holle, HiPP, and Lebenswert. If you can’t feed your baby breast milk, formula made by these companies is the next best thing.
WHO recommends exclusively breastfeeding babies until they reach the age of six months. At the 6-month point, they recommend continuing to breastfeed through the weaning process as part of a balanced diet up until the age of two — and beyond.
Who knew there would be such a connection between breastfeeding and childhood obesity? Obesity at any age greatly affects the health of a nation as well as its economy, social care, and education. Reducing obesity is just one of so many benefits of breastfeeding. If you’re able to do breastfeed your little one, go for it! If not, give them the nutrients they need without the added filler using our top-quality formulas. You’ll reduce your baby’s chances of obesity and provide them with a strong start toward healthy development as happy little people.
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