Research Suggests This Type Of Infant Formula May Increase The Risk Of Childhood Obesity

If you're a parent, you're probably constantly on the lookout for ways to help your child grow up healthier. A new study has provided insight into one way you may be able to decrease your baby's chances of developing obesity later in life. When compared to infants who received standard cow's milk formula, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that babies who received lactose-reduced formula that contained some corn syrup solids had a 10% higher risk of being obese by the time they reached two years old.

According to Mark R. Corkins, MD, division chief of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, lactose intolerances are rare in infants (via WebMD). Therefore, there are few parents who should be feeding their children lactose-free formulas. "The reason the low-lactose formulas are even on the market is because parents want them and they think their kid is lactose intolerant, but they are not," Corkins said. If your baby is fussy or spitting up after drinking formula, speak with your pediatrician before switching to a lactose-free formula. There is likely an alternative that is healthier for your child in the long run.

How to reduce the risk of childhood obesity

In addition to avoiding lactose-free baby formula, there are many things you can do to reduce your child's risk of developing obesity. One of the most important things you can do is to breastfeed your child for at least the first six months of life if possible. Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity later in life, so it's definitely worth doing if you can (via PubMed). Another thing you can do is to make sure your child gets plenty of exercise as they get older (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). This doesn't mean that you have to sign them up for a sports team right away, but just making sure they get outside to play every day is a good start. You should also limit the amount of time your child spends watching television or playing video games. These activities are very sedentary and can lead to weight gain if they're not balanced out with other physical activity.

Finally, you should make sure your child is eating a healthy diet (via The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This means avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks as much as possible. Instead, focus on giving them plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you're not sure what a healthy diet looks like for your child, talk to their doctor or a registered dietitian.