NCT response: MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Centre

Released on: 20 July 2011

A study by Professor Atul Singhal from the MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Centre at University College London claimed that feeding babies milk enriched with nutrients to promote faster weight gain in infancy can cause heart problems and obesity in later life.

Rosie Dodds, Public Policy Officer, NCT, said:


“Parents of babies who are born small because they haven't grown as fast as they might in the womb are often worried if they do not put on weight rapidly.


“This study demonstrates that for babies who are born small, rapid catch-up growth in the early weeks can increase the risk of a child becoming overweight.


“The evidence supports parents to be responsive to their babies’ cues about when they have had enough to eat. There is no need to encourage the baby to finish a bottle, just because that is what it says on the tin. If a baby indicates they have had enough, parents can let them pause in a feed.  Babies will not want to take the bottle again if they have had enough


“There are indications that formula fed babies are more likely to be overweight as children than breastfed babies. However, it is difficult to disentangle the many other factors that can influence obesity.”