Washington: Children are at a higher risk of being overweight if they have consumed milk cereal drinks every day during infancy, a new study has found.
The study was published in the journal ‘Acta Paediatrica’.
“Milk cereal drinks are not bad as such; how it’s used is the problem. That is when it’s seen not as a meal but as an extra, to supplement other food,” said Bernt Alm, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The researchers behind the study have previously linked consumption of milk cereal drinks at age six months to high body mass index (BMI) at ages one year and one and a half years. The study now presented is of the same group of children, several years later.
The follow-up study comprised 1,870 children in Halland County, Sweden whose particulars were taken from the Halland Health and Growth Study. Height and weight data were recorded by the child health services, while the information on their food and beverage intake was given by the parents.
Among the five-year-olds, 11.6 percent were overweight and 2.3 percent had obesity. The risk for overweight or obesity proved to be almost double (factor 1.94) if the children had formerly, at age 12 months, been daily consumers of milk cereal drinks.
Examples of other conditions linked to increasing obesity were if the parents had low educational attainment, if they smoked, and if there was a history of obesity in the family. Heredity was the strongest single factor.
In Sweden, children commonly drink milk cereal drinks once to five times a day from age six months. In the study in question, 85 percent of the children had been daily consumers at 12 months of age.
Milk cereal drinks consists of milk and flour, and is nutritionally close to porridge, and usually enriched with vitamins and minerals.