Breastfeeding children can help reduce their chances of future weight gain

People take pictures and video as women breastfeed their children during an event to promote breast feeding in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China on May 16, 2015. Breastfeeding children for at least half a year can reduce their risk of obesity by 20 per
People take pictures and video as women breastfeed their children during an event to promote breast feeding in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China on May 16, 2015. Breastfeeding children for at least half a year can reduce their risk of obesity by 20 per cent when they are older, research has found. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Breastfeeding children for at least half a year can reduce their risk of obesity by 20 per cent when they are older, research has found.

This is because breast milk has a low protein content. If an infant takes in too much protein in his first year, it can predispose his body to weight gain, and he could be obese by the time he starts school.

These findings were revealed by German paediatrics expert Berthold Koletzko yesterday at a press conference organised by the Nestle Nutrition Institute.

Cow's milk should be avoided in a baby's first year, said Prof Koletzko. Instead, parents should use follow-up formula with reduced protein content.