BERLIN, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Too much protein content in baby food leads to higher risk of baby's being overweight and affects their body mass index (BMI) even several years later, said a new study of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) on Tuesday.
According to the study, nutrition during pregnancy and in early childhood has consequences for the whole life, as it has impact on the child's growth and influences metabolism for the entire life.
"One of the best indicators to predict the future risk of becoming overweight, is weight gain during the first year of life," said Professor Berthold Koletzko, head of nutrition and metabolism at the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital of the LMU.
The researchers tracked the BMI and weight gain of two groups of children who received baby food as infants with different protein contents to find out how crucial the protein content of the diet in infancy is.
"Children, whose food had a higher protein content, had at the age of six years, a significantly higher BMI. Their risk of becoming overweight was almost two and a half times higher than that of those children who received low-protein food," said Koletzko.
The follow-up study with the children, who were now six years old, showed how long-term nutrition in infancy determines the weight of children.
"The increased risk of being overweight at the age of six years suggests that the higher protein intake results in babies not only to faster weight gain. Apparently the long-term effects are also combined with the metabolism," said Koletzko.
However, baby food and complementary food for baby lead to protein revenues that are higher than recommended, said Koletzko.
"The recommendation to mothers to breastfeed, and a reduction of the protein content in baby food are important preventive measures to ensure that children do not become obese."