Can Infants Self-Regulate their Feeding and Prevent Obesity?

A terrific summary of a recent prospective study (RW Taylor et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(9):838-846. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1284): NY Times: What Happens When You Let Babies Feed Themselves?

An excerpt:

Baby-led weaning is an approach to feeding that encourages infants to take control of their eating. It’s based on the premise that infants might be better self-regulators of their food consumption..

A recent randomized controlled trial accomplished what previous work could not. Pregnant women in New Zealand were recruited before they gave birth and randomly assigned to one of two groups…

The study found no significant differences in the children’s body mass indexes at 12 or 24 months. Even when researchers restricted the analyses to the most adherent subjects, there were no significant differences over all in B.M.I…

Nonetheless, there might be merit to giving infants more control over their eating: This study found that baby-led weaning resulted in children who were less fussy about what they ate and who seemed to enjoy their food more…

But if we want to find a larger solution to the issues of overweight American children and obesity, it seems we’re going to have to work harder. Babies aren’t going to solve the problem for us.

My take: This study demonstrates the fallacy of the idea that humans naturally self-regulate the right amount of food intake.

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