Old weight charts fuel child obesity crisis

Out-of-date weight charts mean health visitors could be unwittingly promoting obesity in infants by pressuring mothers to overfeed their babies according to new research.

The most popular charts used were produced by the US National Centre for Health Statistics in 1977 and are based on babies being fed high-protein formula milk.

A European research team investigating infant nutrition and obesity, monitored 1,000 infants in five European countries who received breast milk, high-protein or low-protein formula milk until the age of two.

The initial findings, presented at the European Congress of Obesity in Hungary, showed that at any given age babies in the high-protein group weighed about twice as much above the norm as the highest-scoring babies in other groups.

Peter Aggett of the University of Central Lancashire and a member of a UK panel evaluating new WHO weight charts said breastfeeding mothers described feeling 'heavy pressure from health visitors using the old charts to feed up babies they themselves think are perfectly healthy'.


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