Study Links Bottle Use and Child Obesity

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.”

 

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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