Scientists have once again tried to emphasize the beneficial effects of breast feed over bottle feed, this time, the advantage evident in warding off obesity during the growing up years.
Researchers at Bristol University observed 880 infants from the Children of the 90s project, a study that followed the growth and development of selected babies born in 1991. The study revealed that those who were fed formula milk instead of breast milk had growth spurts that made them grow very quickly, which also gave them a tendency to store all the extra fat and become victims of childhood obesity.
Dr Pauline Emmett, the study's senior nutritionist and a dietitian, said "It could be because parents feeding formula milk make sure that the baby finishes the bottle and do not necessarily reduce the quantity offered once the baby is put on to solid food. While there are obvious benefits in avoiding poor growth rates, excessive weight gain during infancy is also a problem as it may lead to increased risk of overweight or obesity in later life.''
Department of Health advises parents to breast-feed for six months after which the child can be weaned onto solids. Statistics have it that about 75 per cent of babies in the UK are fed with formula milk from the age of 4 months.
The study revealed that formula-fed babies were tuned to be over-fed by parents, creating a habit of needing more food than others in the growing up years.