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Toddlers given milk at bedtime likelier to become obese

May 6, 2011 - London

A new research has suggested that toddlers given milk at bedtime are far more likely to be overweight when they are older.

US researchers who followed almost 7,000 children found that those who were regularly fed a bottle of milk at age two were 30 percent more likely to be obese by the time they turned five and a half, reports the Daily Mail.

They warned that parents who continue to give children a bottle at an age when they have started eating solid foods are overfeeding them.

They said that an 8oz bottle of full-fat milk contains 150 calories - 12 percent of the energy a child aged between one and two needs in a day.

Mothers are advised to gradually wean their babies off either breast milk or formula milk from the age of six months.

But many carry on giving children bottles of milk - either formula, or whole or semi-skimmed - just before bedtime to help them sleep, even when they are on solid food.

The study found that almost a quarter of children - 22.9 percent - still being given bottles when they were two were obese by the time they were five and a half, even after accounting for other factors such as the mother's weight and the child's birth weight.

That compared with just 16 percent of children not being given a bottle.

The researchers said midwives and GPs should encourage mothers to wean their babies off bottles completely once they reach their first birthday.

The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.


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