Study Links Bottle Use and Child Obesity


The Journal of Pediatrics published a study yesterday that finds that toddlers (24 months) who drink from bottles regularly are more likely to become obese later in childhood. The study, which included 6,750 children, reported that toddlers who were using bottles at 2 years were more likely to be obese at age 5 (24%) than those who did not use bottles (16%). This was even after factors such as socioeconomic status, breastfeeding, and race had been controlled for. Toddlers who only used bottles at bedtime, or who only used bottles at other times, were not as likely to become obese as children who drank from bottles during the day and at night.

“Prolonged bottle use may lead to the child consuming excess calories, particularly when parents are using the bottle to comfort the child rather than address the child’s hunger or nutritional needs,” the study’s authors wrote. They point out that an 8 oz. bottle of whole milk contains 150 calories, about 12% of the daily calories for a 2-year-old.

The study did not look at whether bottles were usually filled with breast milk, cow milk, juice, or other beverages, which is something that would have been interesting to know. Water or diluted juice certainly has fewer calories than, say, chocolate milk or soda. The study also did not measure children’s physical activity. However, the researchers suggested pediatricians advise parents to limit or eliminate bottle use after the first year, noting that the measure is “unlikely to cause harm and may prevent obesity along with other health problems.”

 

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.