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Complementary Infant Feeding Guidelines May Lead to Overfeeding

Halving breast milk, feeding per guideline resulted in overweight between 9 and 11 months for three guidelines

FRIDAY, Aug. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Following existing complementary feeding guidelines for infants may result in overfeeding within the first year of life, according to a study published online July 25 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Marie C. Ferguson, M.S.P.H., from the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and colleagues developed a computational simulation model to capture feeding behaviors, activity levels, metabolism, and body size of infants aged 6 months to 1 year. In the virtual infants, daily food intake based on feeding recommendations (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Enfamil, and Similac) was translated to changes in body weight. For each feeding guideline, four situations were simulated.

The researchers found that when infants were also being breastfed along average observed patterns, none of the simulation situations resulted in normal weight at 12 months when virtual caregivers fed infants according to any of the four guidelines. Halving breast milk portions while caregivers fed infants according to complementary feeding guidelines resulted in overweight body mass indexes (BMIs) between 9 and 11 months for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Enfamil guidelines. Most Similac scenarios resulted in normal BMI percentiles at 12 months; female and male infants all reached unhealthy underweight BMI percentiles at some point between 7 and 11 months.

“Feeding experts and pediatricians should focus on providing tighter complementary feeding guidelines to caregivers, particularly in the later months of the first year of life,” the authors write.

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