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Thread: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Default New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    This is a recent article on the outdated growth charts, and how it might contribute to obesity. And also touches on the benefits of breastfeeding versus formula-feeding. Here's an excerpt:

    Mothers are being pressurised into overfeeding their babies by health visitors using out-of-date growth charts, a new study reveals today.

    Scientists say the charts, which have been used for 30 years, may have contributed to Britain's obesity crisis because they are skewed towards the expected weight of babies fed on high-protein formula milk, who grow up to be larger than breast-fed babies.

    Health visitors have been encouraging mothers to feed their perfectly healthy baby more than they need because the growth chart tells them they are in danger of malnutrition.

    It means babies have been putting on weight too quickly - leading to obesity problems later in life. The most popular growth chart, produced by the US National Center for Health Statistics, was introduced in 1977 and similar charts are used in the NHS.

    But when the chart was produced, rates of breast-feeding in the US had fallen to an all-time low of 22 per cent.

    The out-of-date charts suggest a healthy one-year-old weighs between 22.5lb and 28.5lb - when in fact the true healthy weight is 21lb to 26lb.

    The World Health Organisation has developed new charts, based on the healthy weights of breast-fed babies, which it hopes will be taken up by the NHS by the end of the year.

    Peter Aggett, professor of child health, of the University of Central Lancashire, has been trialling new charts, said: "The reaction I get from breastfeeding mothers when I explain the new chart is one of relief, because they describe feeling heavy pressure from health visitors using the old charts to feed up babies they themselves think are perfectly healthy.

    "The charts were prepared in the 1970s when more women used formula milk, and babies were introduced to solids much earlier.

    "Breastfed babies grow at a different rate. There may be a time when they do not gain weight and health visitors using the old charts have been putting huge pressure on mothers, telling them their babies are not thriving and discoraging them from continuing breast feeding.

    "There is a lot of suspicion that overfeeding in early life does precipitate conditions in adult life such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. The obesity of 30-year-olds nowadays could be down to the formula milk they were given."

    Scientists have long speculated that children fed with high-protein formula milk are more likely to be overweight than those fed with breast milk or low-protein formula milk.

    Last week Prof Koletzko announced the results of the most complete study into babies' weight which found a direct link with the type of milk used.

    He monitored 1,000 babies in five European countries until they were two. It was the first study to take into account other factors such as the wealth and smoking habits of their parents.

    At any given age, babies in the high-protein group weighed around twice as much above the norm as the heaviest babies in the other groups.

    He said this is likely to be because high-protein formula milk contains more amino acids which encourage the body to produce insulin, which encourages fat storage in babies.

    You can find the entire article here:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...n_page_id=1774
    Last edited by dorothy; May 11th, 2007 at 03:53 AM.
    Caylen Koen Chew (25/05/06)
    Lost No.2 in Aug 2008 ... Lost No. 3 in May 2009 Hoping for another ... Enjoying No.1



  2. #2
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    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    Sorry - I don't believe a word of this article because it isn't based in reality. I had my baby on the NHS in the UK only 5 months ago and the growth chart that my ebf dd is compared to is only used for bf babies! It is the same one promoted by WHO. Health visitors give you one of two red books when you have a baby here: one for forumla fed babies and one for breastfed babies. That way, your baby is then compared to the right growth chart. Maybe this method isn't used by ALL UK local authorities - but I would be shocked if it wasn't. I think the Daily Mail is overegging the issue as usual and is trying to scaremonger the public about being overweight.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    Thanks Star_Dust, for your feedback. I wouldn't know what they are doing in the UK, but what interested me about the article was the comparisions between weight gain issues of breastfed and formula-fed babies. I edited my initial post to include more of that information.
    Caylen Koen Chew (25/05/06)
    Lost No.2 in Aug 2008 ... Lost No. 3 in May 2009 Hoping for another ... Enjoying No.1



  4. #4
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    Hi, just joining my 2p worth. I was never given the option of BF growth charts...they still use the old FF charts where I live. My HV is great, she advised me that these charts weren't accurate for BF babies but that they were hoping to implement a BF chart soon...prob the one they mention in the article. She was always very supportive of bf and positive about my ds weight gain...which is slow. But I gather I have ben lucky. I have heard a lot of stories of BF mothers actively encouraged to use formula or stop BF altogether because of slow weight gain based on these FF charts.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    dorothy - it is an interesting observation that you made - i didn't realize ff charts were used a lot b/c i was given an ebf chart for girls in my health visitor book. drs and other health professionals definetely need to start comparing like-for-like! even with this, in the beginning i fretted about dd's weight in comparison to other bf babies - but i refuse to be worried abuot her weight now big or small b/c it puts emphasis on the wrong things and i don't want her to have any type of eating disorder as an adult.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    You know, I read so many people on these boards talking about the pressure to supplement. It is not that way here in Japan. We have 3 babies on campus and all of them are on the smaller side. Yet, even the doctors did not encourage us to supplement. They consider other factors like the baby being active, looking healthy, meeting milestones. They do not draw conclusions based on weight alone.

    Mommy to a busy toddler

    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose."
    Jim Elliot

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    Well I find this article to be very interesting, since even though my baby is growing at a steady rate, his percentile is dropping and my pediatrician continually wants me to supplement with formula, which I haven't done so far.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2007
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    Quote Originally Posted by star_dust View Post
    Sorry - I don't believe a word of this article because it isn't based in reality. I had my baby on the NHS in the UK only 5 months ago and the growth chart that my ebf dd is compared to is only used for bf babies! It is the same one promoted by WHO. Health visitors give you one of two red books when you have a baby here: one for forumla fed babies and one for breastfed babies. That way, your baby is then compared to the right growth chart. Maybe this method isn't used by ALL UK local authorities - but I would be shocked if it wasn't. I think the Daily Mail is overegging the issue as usual and is trying to scaremonger the public about being overweight.
    Being from the UK, I must point out that my red book does infact contain the out of date charts. When Oliver was admitted to hospital because his weight was dropping on the charts I was told by the consultant that the charts are wrong and that they were infact for formula fed babies. I was told that almost all of the UK uses these formula charts, leading to more mothers, just as the article above says, being told that their baby is not gaining weight as they should.

    As a mother who has been through the mill over weight gain issues, being told to start solids at 3.5 months and told I MUST quit BF and put my baby on formula I THANK the poster of this thread for indeed posting it. It makes mothers like me feel a little better about ourselves and the job we have done for our babies.

    So THANKS!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrel's Mummy View Post
    Being from the UK, I must point out that my red book does infact contain the out of date charts. When Oliver was admitted to hospital because his weight was dropping on the charts I was told by the consultant that the charts are wrong and that they were infact for formula fed babies. I was told that almost all of the UK uses these formula charts, leading to more mothers, just as the article above says, being told that their baby is not gaining weight as they should.

    As a mother who has been through the mill over weight gain issues, being told to start solids at 3.5 months and told I MUST quit BF and put my baby on formula I THANK the poster of this thread for indeed posting it. It makes mothers like me feel a little better about ourselves and the job we have done for our babies.

    So THANKS!

    I was also made to feel like a bad mother over weight gain issues. It took us a month to get back up to her birth weight (but she was 9lbs at birth) and I got no help from the midwives at the hospital or my hv on this issue. I was told to supplement or my dd was going to starve. Women need the right support when it comes to weight gain. However, I think the Daily Mail is using this issue as a scare tatic in its war against overweight people and that upsets me. I think too much attention is paid to weight in general and ppl sticking with the 'right' numbers - this leads to all sorts of eating disorder issues, poor self esteem etc. I refuse to get upset about my daughter's weight anymore - whether statistically up or down. Yes, mothers need to feel better about the job we do - but I do not think the ff charts used on infants make them obese in the future as the article implies.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New study linking out-of-date growth charts to obesity

    Quote Originally Posted by star_dust View Post
    However, I think the Daily Mail is using this issue as a scare tatic in its war against overweight people and that upsets me.
    Maybe a clearer picture could be gotten from the source article in New Scientist magazine, dated 26 April 2007. Here's the link:

    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/...wed-ideal.html

    Here's an interesting factoid from that New Scientist article about those outdated growth charts:

    The most popular growth chart, produced by the US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), has been used for nearly 30 years to provide a reference against which to judge the growth of a new baby. Introduced in 1977, when rampant obesity had yet to manifest itself, its main aim was to make sure babies didn't suffer from malnutrition. What is now being increasingly recognised is that these charts were based on babies that were atypically heavy: almost all of them had been bottle-fed and came from white, middle-class families in Ohio.

    Wow! I was amazed to learn this.

    I don't really get the feeling from reading this article or the one in Daily Mail that they're making "war against overweight people". But I am sorry that you were offended by it. That was not my intention.
    Caylen Koen Chew (25/05/06)
    Lost No.2 in Aug 2008 ... Lost No. 3 in May 2009 Hoping for another ... Enjoying No.1



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