Is Overeating a Learned Behaviour From Infancy?

Is Overeating a Learned Behaviour From Infancy?

According to research, the concept of overeating may be learned during infancy.

Weight matters

Childhood obesity is a big problem in today’s society. After all, how many times have we caught ourselves trying to control our overindulgent child’s eating habits?

From having too many sweets and eating too much to the opposite end of the spectrum where your child is just too picky and won’t want to eat anything, children who face problems with regards to their eating habit is a common occurrence.

One of the problems that are associated with our child’s eating habit is their propensity to develop obesity at a later age. More specifically, what we are going to explore in this article is whether overeating is learned during infancy.

Overweight at two, obese for life?

Is Overeating a Learned Behaviour From Infancy? Image source: iStock

As we all know, if you are overweight when you’re two years old, the likelihood of continuing that trend through to adulthood is significantly higher than if you are not overweight.

From this information, researchers are now trying to find out what exactly causes babies to overeat and be overweight and whether this habit of overeating is learned during infancy.

Formula, the culprit?

Is Overeating a Learned Behaviour From Infancy? Image source: iStock

Generally, babies who are fed formula milk are much more likely to develop bad eating habits as compared to those who are breastfed. Experts have concurred that through breastfeeding, babies are more likely to stop when they are full as the nature of feeding allows for that development to happen.

Also, there have been some arguments that say that those who bottle-feed, are more likely to introduce solids too early into a baby’s diet and more sugary products that contribute to this overeating problem, and thus, explains the general difference in the obesity rate among bottle-fed babies and breast milk babies.

How you can help with overeating in children

Is Overeating a Learned Behaviour From Infancy? Image source: iStock

Alas, all is not lost for bottle-fed babies as you can still develop their ability to stop eating when they are full. A simple way is when you are feeding your baby, stop feeding when the baby is pushing the bottle away and don’t force them to finish it. This conditions the child to only eat until they are full and discourages the child from overeating. Little things like these are pivotal for you to ensure that your child doesn’t pick up bad eating habits from seemingly innocuous things.

As the rate of obesity becomes higher and higher, let us all do our part to ensure that our children do not pick up bad eating habits that could contribute to this problem. I’m sure all we really want is the best for our children and for that to happen let’s try and make sure that our children do not overeat and help them achieve a healthy and happy future!

Check out this video for other ways you can help protect your child from childhood obesity:


Tips on combating childhood obesity

Sleeping with bottle leads to higher chances of an obese baby

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Written by

Wafa Marican

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