Public Health England warns that too many babies are overfed

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  • Over-eating from birth is an issue that needs to be tackled urgently according to Public Health England as three-quarters of UK babies are consuming too many calories.

    Many parents often worry they aren’t feeding their babies enough.

    However, a new warning from Public Health England (PHE) suggests the opposite is happening and new advice has been released to encourage parents to stop over-feeding their children.

    The new report suggests that 75 per cent of UK babies and toddlers are eating more than they should. This means that the same proportion of babies and toddlers weighed more than the ideal weight for their age when plotted on growth charts.

    It’s been known for a while now that the UK population is largely overweight, and has one of the worst cases of childhood obesity.

    A quarter of children in England are classified as obese or overweight at four to five-years-old.

    While it is not clear if being overweight as a baby contributes to being obese or overweight as a child or adult, it is something that researchers are keen to explore.

    baby breastfed

    New baby feeding guidelines stress that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first sixth months 

    The data used for the latest report comes from the Infant Feeding Survey and Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children, which were conducted in 2010 and 2011.

    PHE has stressed that more research is urgently needed and has recommended that the Department of Health and Social Care take it under serious consideration.

    Government advisers Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) have published new guidance on feeding babies for the first time in 20 years.

    The guidelines state: 

    Babies should be exclusively breastfed for around the first six months of life

    Solid foods can be introduced at around six months

    Cows’ milk should not be given until 12 months

    Avoid high sugar or high salt foods

    Foods containing peanut and hens’ eggs can be introduced at six months because delaying this might increase the risk of food allergy (but seek advice if there is a strong family history of food allergy)