Do complementary feeding practices predict the later risk of obesity?

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 May;15(3):293-7. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328351baba.


Purpose of review: Obesity is a multifaceted public health problem, which should be addressed with an all-encompassing approach. Recent research has asked questions that link specific infant nutritional risks to childhood obesity. This article brings recent research in the area of complimentary feeding practices to light and summarizes the research on its consequent impact on obesity risk.

Recent findings: The article will discuss the current conflicting evidence on the relationship between the timing of introduction of complimentary foods and later obesity risk. It will summarize recent findings on the impact that complimentary feeding has on food preferences, growth and weight gain during the first year of life.

Summary: In industrialized countries complementary feeding has no major impact on obesity. However, there is some evidence that the age at introduction of complementary foods has some effect on growth in infancy and that effects might be more pronounced in formula-fed children. The focus of research should be shifted from the timing of the introduction of complementary feeding to the quality and quantity of foods being offered and their consequent impact on weight gain and obesity risk. More research should be conducted on the relationship of primary nutrition to appetite regulation, satiety and food acceptance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Regulation
  • Developed Countries
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain