ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A new study has revealed that spoon-fed babies are more likely to be overweight than babies who are fed by other means.
Researchers based at Swansea University and led by Dr. Amy Brown found that spoon-feeding babies negatively affects their ability to tell when they are full, The Telegraph reports.
“Our study indicates that taking a baby-led approach to weaning may reduce a baby’s risk of being overweight as they are in control of their food intake,” she was quoted as saying. “This results in the baby being better able to control his or her appetite which could have a long-term impact upon weight gain and eating style that may continue into childhood.”
Brown added, “There is increasing recognition of the role of feeding style during infancy upon how a child’s appetite and eating style develops. Allowing the child to regulate their own appetite and not pressurizing them to eat more than they need is a really important step in encouraging children to develop healthy eating patterns for life.”
For the study, those involved monitored and compared the weights of babies fed by spoon to those fed using what researchers called a baby-led approach. In all, a reported 298 babies were observed.
Ultimately, the team found that babies allowed to feed themselves after weaning were “significantly more” likely to be able to stop themselves from overeating.
“This may be explained by the baby being allowed to handle foods, control their intake and eat at their own pace, alongside being exposed to a wider variety of tastes,” Brown said. “All of this may promote appetite regulation and healthy weight gain trajectories.”
It’s knowledge that may be useful in the United States, where an estimated 17 percent of children are obese – a number that has tripled over the course of a generation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The study was published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.